German Court Orders CR223 Rifles Destroyed

The court ruled that the moisture-drainage system in the CR223 infringes on HK's patent.

posted on January 5, 2023
CR223 rifle destroyed

On Dec. 30 a court in Germany upheld a previous judicial ruling that found C.G. Haenel violated patents held by Heckler & Koch (H&K) in its CR223 design and ordered the company to cease the manufacturing and sale of the carbines. The decision also mandated the company to recall and destroy all that have been manufactured and disclose full sales figures to determine financial damage done by the infringement of intellectual property.

The legal arguments stemmed from the German military’s search to replace its aging fleet of standard-issue G36s. C.G. Haenal, a member of the Caracal International family of companies, originally won the tender for the lucrative contract with the MK556 (seen above), a select-fire version of the CR223. H&K appealed and later filed the patent infringement suit, claiming the moisture-drainage system it invented and harnesses in its HK416 and HK417 was infringed upon, or identical to, that in the MK556/CR223 action.

The legal developments played a role in selection of the HK416A8 rifle by Germany’s armed forces. Shipments are expected to begin sometime in 2024 for the carbines, which have been officially designated models G95A1 and G95KA1—wearing 16.5- and 14-inch barrels, respectively.

The CR223 and stateside BT-15 are chambered in 5.56 NATO. C.G. Haenel’s listing—still online (for now)—has the piston-driven semi-automatic with a 16.65-inch barrel, with shorter versions available. Based on the AR-15/M4 platform, it came with an A2-style flash hider, ambidextrous safety, adjustable stock and most of the features expected on a modern sporting rifle.


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