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Russia Claims IP Rights In Manufacture of AK-47

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the kalashnikov's-yer-uncle dept.

Patents 502

Daniel Dvorkin writes "In the latest example of over-the-top intellectual property demands, Russia wants licensing fees for the production of AK-47s. According to first deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov, the unlicensed production of Kalashnikovs (which have been around in very nearly their current form for 60 years) in ex-Soviet Bloc countries is 'intellectual piracy.' A giant but declining power starts demanding royalties on commonly used methods and materials that are widely understood, well known, and by any reasonable standard have long been in the public domain — does this sound familiar?" Wikipedia notes that the Izhevsk Machine Tool Factory in Russia obtained a patent on the manufacture of the AK-47 in 1999.

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Polonium patent? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373127)

Are they also going to claim the patent on how to murder dissidents using polonium? That seems like another obvious technique that should be patented.

Re:Polonium patent? (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373645)

Murder by poison is a fine tradition in spycraft. The "prior art" rule would prevent polonium from being patented.

Re:Polonium patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373827)

So is killing someone with a gun.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373135)

AK-47 produces YOU

Pay or Die! (4, Funny)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373139)

This is interesting. Russia... demanding IP? Wow. What are they going to do if their demands are ignored? Invade?

Re:Pay or Die! (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373173)

No, they will change the manufacturing process to stop those dastardly internet pirates.
Every single bullet on the planet will be recoded to stop working in old unpatched guns.

Re:Pay or Die! (4, Insightful)

linuxmeltz (815217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373203)

Nahhh, invading is sooo old school-- they'll just point some ballistic weapons your way and cut off your gas supply..

Re:Pay or Die! (5, Funny)

aesdesdesdes (985569) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373333)

Ok now what idiot is gonna be the first to try enforce the patents on the A-bomb?

Re:Pay or Die! (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373545)

Perhaps you are un aware of recent US/Iran tensions?

Re:Pay or Die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373347)

erm, no, wait until winter and cut off the gas supply.

It may have escaped the US's attention but Russia has been throwing its weight around Europe a lot recently. Starting riots in Estonia, killing a Russian exile in London with Polonium. It is a return to the cold war.

Controlling the Russian Beast (2, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373651)

"The Economist" recently published a concise summary of relations between the West and Russia [economist.com] . The summary stated, "DEMONSTRATORS thrashed on the streets of Moscow; the impending mugging of another big energy firm, this one part-owned by BP; cyberwarfare against a small neighbour; the bellicose testing of a new ballistic missile, supposedly able to bypass the American missile-defence system about which the Kremlin fulminates--and all that was only in the past fortnight. When the G8 group of rich countries meets next week in Germany, one of its biggest if unadvertised concerns will be the snarling behaviour of one of its own members, Vladimir Putin's Russia--and the urgent need for a more coherent Western policy towards it."

One of the biggest mistakes that we Westerners committed was to admit the Russians into the G-8. The original G-7 was intended to be the group of leading industrialized democracies committed to Western values.

We admitted the Russians in the hope that, although Russia was still highly non-Western (in, for example, its treatment of sexual-orientation or ethnic minorities), being lenient on Russia would encourage the Russians to modernize their society along Western lines. Well, we were wrong. Just last week, the Russian police smiled in approval as ordinary Russians [nytimes.com] violently beat up participants in a demonstration calling for rights for homosexuals. Some of the victims of the violence were European politicians who had participated into the demonstration.

The Russians make a mockery of the G-8 and its principles. This demand for licensing fees on supposed patents of a 60-year-old technology is the latest in a string of non-Western activities.

The time has come for us to end this nonsense. We should expel Russia from the G-8, restoring the orignal name of "G-7".

Re:Controlling the Russian Beast (5, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373757)

...The Russians make a mockery of the G-8 and its principles. This demand for licensing fees on supposed patents of a 60-year-old technology is the latest in a string of non-Western activities...

That doesn't sound non-Western to me. I wish it did, but wishes don't make truth.

Duration of Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373831)

Patents of well-known 60-year-old technologies are not valid.

Re:Controlling the Russian Beast (2, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373867)

Claiming property rights over stuff 60 years old, police-sanctioned beating of protestors, weapons testings in violation of treaties, secretly attacking other countries, and full of homophobes and racists....

I'm confused. Why are they non-Western again?

Re:Pay or Die! (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373673)

This is interesting. [the United States]... demanding IP? Wow. What are they going to do if their demands (to shut down allofmp3) are ignored? Invade?

Re:Pay or Die! (2, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373691)

Russia are getting scarier and scarier recently. New missile tests, alleged poisonings, building reactors for Iran, suppression of political opposition. More than a little worrying, especially the pace it seems to be going at.

Re:Pay or Die! (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373795)

What are they going to do if their demands are ignored? Invade?
Liberate, comrade. Liberate.

What do you want them to do? (5, Funny)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373145)

Open source it?

Re:What do you want them to do? (2, Interesting)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373257)

Why not? Better to have an organized process promoting design improvement than the long-tired attempt to take financial control far too late and to the detriment of further production & enhancement.

The Western AR-15 design has been wildly successful in this regard, with what is a de-facto open-source system. It's a highly modular design which has been widely tested with numerous production variations, accessories, and consumables.

Re:What do you want them to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373613)

The Western AR-15 design has been wildly successful in this regard, with what is a de-facto open-source system. It's a highly modular design which has been widely tested with numerous production variations, accessories, and consumables.

Yes, but there still is a fundamental flaw: exhaust gases are vented into the receiver. This results in a less reliable design that is more prone to jam and requires more cleaning.

Sounds fair to me (4, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373147)

They got a patent. Doesn't matter who they bribed to get it. Its the law. Pay up.

This is what we get for playing IP games and "owning" ideas.

Re:Sounds fair to me (2, Informative)

zugurudumba (1009301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373305)

AFAIK, they've got no patent in Romania, one of the biggest manufacturers of "unlicensed" AK-47s. So Romania cannot be forced to cease production through legal means. Of course, there's always the gas flowing from the Big Russian brother, but that's another story.

Re:Sounds fair to me (5, Interesting)

Pode (892717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373309)

Mod parent up for being exactly correct, this is precisely what we get for playing IP games. Unfortunately I can't source this from memory, but I read not long ago in international news coverage of this issue that Russians have essentially admitted this stance is a direct result of US diplomats in the back pocket of the MPAA raising hell about AllOfMP3.com and resisting Russia's application for membership in some international trade organization on the basis of unpaid royalties. Russia countered by demanding the US, as a member of said organization, abide by its IP laws and pay Russia royalties for all the AK's the CIA has had manufactured and distributed over the years. Russia doesn't want to collect money from Outer Bungholistan, they'd have to pay in goats anyway. It's specifically tit for tat with the US. If Russia has to pay royalties for US IP copied and distributed to US customers, the US should have to pay Russia for Russian IP copied and distributed to US puppets.

Re:Sounds fair to me (1)

BgJonson79 (129962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373515)

Yeah, but when the CIA was making 'em, the "borrowed" from the Soviet Union. Said union no longer exists, and they didn't have IP laws anyway!

It's a new world out there (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373597)

... when Russia is chastising the US for restricitng freedoms, and doing so in a rather humourous manner.

Re:Sounds fair to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373659)

"If Russia has to pay royalties for US IP copied and distributed to US customers, the US should have to pay Russia for Russian IP copied and distributed to US puppets."

We can all agree that's fair. Unfortunately, the net balance would be tilted heavily towards the US. Russia pirates far more goods than the rest of the world pirates Russian goods.

Fantasies about intellectual property (2, Insightful)

cirby (2599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373779)

...except the CIA never really did what you dreamed they did (the Russian claim is like many - it never had any basis in reality).

Why manufacture AK-47s when they could buy them by the thousands in the open market, from Soviet factories, or from their clients around the world at pennies on the dollar?

The only people the Russians are going after right now are companies that, when they went into production of the rifle, were ORDERED to make them - not exactly a good argument for intellectual property rights, or any property rights at all.

And, as I pointed out below, any patent that might have been possible would have expired about 40 years back.

The whole "1999 Russian patent claim" thing comes from one unsourced comment in one Wikipedia article, anyway - I have to wonder about the actual truth of the claim in the first place.

From the posts here, it seems we have two schools: the people who think it's a bogus claim, and the ones who are still Really Pissed about allofMP3.com having problems.

Re:Fantasies about intellectual property (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373861)

I thought the US decided patents just about never expired. When was it that Mickey Mouse was first created, 1928? That's still covered, thanks to extension after extension of the 20 year limit.

Don't think so. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373843)

Russia countered by demanding the US, as a member of said organization, abide by its IP laws and pay Russia royalties for all the AK's the CIA has had manufactured and distributed over the years.

This doesn't make sense. The patent was obtained in 1999, and I think they'd have a tough time proving that the CIA has ordered many AK-47s since then (and even if they did, why the CIA would be responsible for royalties, instead of the Eastern-bloc manufacturers that they were presumably buying them from).

The West doesn't really get harmed, or care very much, about patents or IP claims on the AK-47. If anything, it might be a boon to manufacturers of alternative designs, including U.S. firms.

What this seems much more like, is an attempt by Russia to apply pressure to its neighbors and former client states, in order to squeeze some more revenue out of them. With them, Russia has a pretty big stick (energy, trade, border security) that they can use if the client state doesn't pay up.

Nobody in the U.S. establishment is going to really care about this. If the Russians wanted to fight back in response to AllOfMP3.com, there are much more effective ways they could do it. I think this is probably more about relations with neighbors (including China) than the West.

Probably not (2, Informative)

cirby (2599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373615)

Unfortunately, according to their own patent laws, they can't patent the AK-47.

"The invention shall be granted legal protection if it is novel,
possesses an inventive level and is commercially applicable."

Since it's been in production for over 50 years, it's certainly not "novel."

If they argue for patentability from the initial design, then the patent time lapsed many years ago (their protection limits max out at 20 years).

So no, it's not "the law," it's just Russia being Russia.

AK's are varied and spread far & wide (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373159)

back during the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan there was a documentary about the neighboring Pakistan and its involvement with the Taliban & the then Ousama Bin Laden who was considered a good guy back then that was financed by the CIA to battle the Soviets in Afghanistan? and there were several machine shops that were making AK47 knockoffs that looked & functioned identical to the Soviet version...

and doesn't China make a knockoff AK47 too?

the Russians might get away with squeezing some former Soviet satellites, but i doubt they are going to squeeze some back woods frontier muslem militia garage/machine shops...

Re:AK's are varied and spread far & wide (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373299)

Many countries make an AK-47-based assault rifle. That's because, for an assault rifle, it's important that it's reliable in the crappiest imaginable conditions, and in the hands of the laziest of the fighters.

The best AK-47 variant is produced in Finland:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rk_62 [wikipedia.org]
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rk_62 [wikipedia.org]
http://www.ak-47.us/Finland.php [ak-47.us]

This weapon (RK-62) is widely considered to be the best assault rifle in general.

Re:AK's are varied and spread far & wide (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373513)

Indeed, this is why US and Uk guns have had trouble. They're precision guns which are accurate but also hopeless in dusty sandy conditions. Soldiers don't always have time to follow a cleaning routine.

Re:AK's are varied and spread far & wide (1)

f0dder (570496) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373753)

The persons best to speak about these claims are those currently using them. So far I've not heard any mentions of current US soldiers in Iraq are throwing away the M4 in search of AK's

Re:AK's are varied and spread far & wide (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373799)

Exactly and most soldiers aren't snipers, they don't have time to do more than point and shoot from relatively short range in live combat anyway.

Re:AK's are varied and spread far & wide (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373445)

Nor would they want to; those guys are fighting us now. It's been said that Afghanistan was the Soviet's Vietnam. Now...

Not quite true... Urban legend time (2, Interesting)

cirby (2599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373655)

Ousama Bin Laden who was considered a good guy back then that was financed by the CIA

Actually, he wasn't. The US was funding a different set of Afghans versus the Soviets at the time (there were multiple groups fighting them), and bin Laden was getting his support from the Saudis and other Islamists. That's part of the reason he dislikes the US so much - we were funding his competition.

Re:Not quite true... Urban legend time (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373701)

Actually, he wasn't. The US was funding a different set of Afghans versus the Soviets at the time (there were multiple groups fighting them), and bin Laden was getting his support from the Saudis and other Islamists. That's part of the reason he dislikes the US so much - we were funding his competition.
But, but, but, but... that would mean that there's something that's not the US's fault. That's non-possible.

Russia? No, the company. (3, Insightful)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373167)

Sounds to me like it's the company with the patent that's asking for royalties, not Russia itself.

Re:Russia? No, the company. (2, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373313)

Does "deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov" sound like a position within a manufacturing company?

Re:Russia? No, the company. (4, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373479)

I'm not directly familiar with Russian politics... but it might be. ;)

Re:Russia? No, the company. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373705)

It's no different than American politics. From this article [nytimes.com] :

From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Cheney received "deferred salary payments" from Halliburton that far exceeded what taxpayers gave him. Mr. Cheney still holds hundreds of thousands of stock options that have ballooned by millions of dollars as Halliburton profited handsomely from the war in Iraq.

a big wtf here. (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373187)

I thought you could license from a patent for 20 years, no? The patent was in 1999 - but the design was WW2?

WTF?

hello, the horse has bolted, shutting the door now does nooothing.

besides Russia telling you to pay licensing fees is like being told to sit up straight by the hunchback of notredame*.

*shameless rip of a fine George Galloway poke at the senate there, sorry.

------

Besides, in Soviet Russia the Gun licenses you..... (kinda obligatory here.. sorry again)

Re:a big wtf here. (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373373)

but the design was WW2?

No...the "47" in the name is the year of adoption by the Red Army, its first customer.

rj

Re:a big wtf here. (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373763)

Under US law maybe. But this is Russian law. Are you sure that your assertion is still valid?

Correct, IF you're in the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373819)

And ONLY in the USA. Laws outside the USA are COMPLETELY different. Do you realize that USA laws are only valid in the USA, and nowhere else? Once you learn that, you'll be ok.

Re:a big wtf here. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373855)

Who are they asking anyway? Unlike copyrights, there is no international treaty that I'm aware of that says you have to respect another country's patents (except for the purpose of disclosure; you have a limited time from filing in one country to file in any others where you want patent protection). This is why software patents granted in the USA are not valid in the UK.

I suspect that they are planning on using this as propaganda to put before the WTO, saying 'why should we be expected to enforce US IP laws when they don't respect ours?' To be honest, I'm surprised the French don't do something similar; why should they respect US copyrights and trademarks when the US doesn't respect Appelation Controle (a concept similar to trademarks).

No one would listen (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373195)

Take a good look at the countries that commonly use AK-47s. You're not likely to find a whole of big fans of intellectual property rights there.

Re:No one would listen (1)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373561)

"You can have our IP when you pry it from our cold, dead hands!"

Profiling (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373747)

Mod -1 Troll... this is profiling

Capitalism wins... (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373205)

Russia isn't Communist any more. Well, that's the simple way to look at it.

But then, the licensing of the production to its Commrade States hardly means the USSR didn't keep its IP.

Re:Capitalism wins... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373719)

Russia isn't Communist any more.
And yet, they're still up to no good [independent.co.uk] .
It's as though the economic model had nothing to do with their totalitarian tendencies! That's unpossible!

Update. (2, Informative)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373225)

Izhevsk Machine Tool Factory, referred to in the summary no longer exists as such. It is now commonly referred to as Izhmash (a collaborative of multiple guv owned manufacturing sites in the region), is owned by the government, and has been granted the right to produce contracts with whoever they want without governmental approval... giving them a leg up over most competition.

For a list of AK-47 producing sites follow the link: http://www.ak-47.us/AK47_Factories.php [ak-47.us]

Regards.

Re:Update. (5, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373857)

Actually, Izhevsk Machine Tool Factory (IZHevsky MASHinostroitelny zavod in Russian) IS Izhmash. It is still alive and well.

I know this because my parents live in Izhevsk and work at Izhevsk Mechanical Factory (Izhevsky Mechanichesky Zavod) which makes hunting and sport rifles.

Expired? (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373229)

What sane nation would allow 60 year patents? Russia's claims should be laughed out of the international arena.

(I also agree with Richard Stallman that we need to stop using the term "Intellectual Property". I've seen too many people confuse copyrights, patents, licenses, trademarks, trade secrets, etc. Whenever we can be specific, we should use the correct term: in this case it's patent.)

Re:Expired? (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373277)

> (I also agree with Richard Stallman that we need to stop using the term "Intellectual Property". I've seen too many people confuse copyrights, patents, licenses, trademarks, trade secrets, etc.

That's like saying: I've seen way too many people confuse the term "operating system", "distribution", and "application". So let's stop using the term "software"!

People use the term "Intellectual Property" s because they are collectively a class of property rights of immaterial objects. RMS and his fanboys need a remedial grammar course. Normal folk get confused because -- well, normal folk get confused about a lot of things not related to their everyday lives. Let's see YOU not get confused about the type of tar to use on a highway if you're not a civil engineer.

Re:Expired? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373553)

People use the term "Intellectual Property" s because they are collectively a class of property rights of immaterial objects.

Except that that's untrue. They aren't really property rights, and they certainly cannot reasonably be thought of in a collective fashion. Copyrights and patents are mildly related to one another only in that they have similar ends and means, but this is only so at the very highest, abstract levels. Trademarks are wholly unrelated to either. Trade secrets too are unrelated. Publicity rights are slightly similar to trademarks, but generally are not.

You agree that people who aren't really well-versed in the subject get confused about these. Well I can tell you that people in the know generally don't use the term in discussions with one another. There's almost never any cause to, because it's quite rare to be talking much about them at once. Generally when you are talking about copyrights, you say copyrights, when talking about patents, you say patents, and so on. So if it's not a useful term for laypeople because it's confusing, and it's not a useful term for experts, because it's horribly vague and imprecise, then who is it useful for?

Other than being useful for people who want to promote an agenda by means of confusing and misleading people, I can't imagine.

Re:Expired? (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373745)

> They aren't really property rights, and they certainly cannot reasonably be thought of in a collective fashion.

What part of rights to _immaterial objects_ do you not get?

Property rights were a great innovation at a time when you had *no* rights (chiefly land rights) if you weren't royalty or had a royal grant. This transformed feudal society to a post-Magna Carta agragrian society and enabled the rise of gentleman farmers. Intellectual Property Rights were a big innovation on Plain Old Property Rights because it meant that land and trade weren't the only things of value any more. You could use your brain and come up with something (a device, a piece of art/book/whatever) and could justifiably hope to make money off it. Different mechanisms exist to protect different classes of work (patents tend to protect devices, copyright tends to protect works without form, like books and music). But they all protect the same thing, works of the mind. And that's where the term "intellectual property rights" come from.

> Generally when you are talking about copyrights, you say copyrights, when talking about patents, you say patents, and so on.

Geez. Yes. But sometimes I also want to talk about rights inherent in works of the mind in general. A drug is covered by patents. The appearance of the drug is protected by a design trademark. The drug's name and its manufacturer's name are protected by trademark law. Instructions, artwork, etc accompanying the packet it comes in may be copyrighted. To sum up, that box you buy at the pharmacy is protected by a whole class of Intellectual Property Rights.

Finally, one thing that's not directly related to your post but instead related to a very general anti-IP position on Slashdot. Yes, there are misapplications of patent law, especially w.r.t software. So change the patenting process -- something lots of people are working on. Yes, companies have too much power these days and they often wield it using laws designed to protect IP (simply because much of their property is generated from the human mind). So lobby your legislators for corporate reform so that organisations like the RIAA/MPAA can't sue little kids again.

But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and childishly cry out against IP. Without IP, the only things actually worth anything in this world would be land and expensive objects (factories, etc) built on land. And that's not a world you'd like to live in.

Re:Expired? (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373731)

That's like saying: I've seen way too many people confuse the term "operating system", "distribution", and "application". So let's stop using the term "software"!
Good point. Actually, it's even worse. I often see people confuse "Internet", "browser", and "world wide web". We really should be more specific whenever we can.

People use the term "Intellectual Property" s because they are collectively a class of property rights of immaterial objects.
But the laws dealing with each of these property rights are totally different. People don't use the term "physical property rights" to describe everything from personal possessions, to real estate, to custody of a child. Even though all these things involve owning something material, we don't lump them together because the laws that regulate them are completely different. The same is true for IP.

Normal folk get confused because -- well, normal folk get confused about a lot of things not related to their everyday lives. Let's see YOU not get confused about the type of tar to use on a highway if you're not a civil engineer.
These things are very much related to our lives. People are just kept in the dark so that they can continue to be exploited. Every consumer or producer of music, machines, literature, software, etc should know something about copyright and/or patent law. Every Internet user should have basic knowledge of TCP/IP. Every car owner should know something about auto mechanics, highway construction, and global climate change. If you depend on something, you aught to understand it at some basic level! Once you understand it, you can start to make informed decisions about how to run it in your own best interests. If we're ever to live in a free society, one without politicians and bosses, we need to start taking charge of our own lives, learning about our environment, and rationally and democratically managing our own affairs. Human beings are naturally intelligent and curious. We want to learn about the world around us. It takes years of schooling and corporate media exposure to drive the ability to think out of a perfectly functional human. If we lived in a participatory democracy, our natural curiosity could be encouraged instead of stifled, and we would try to understand how the technology that we depend on works. By the way I'm not a civil engineer, nor am I a car owner, so I really have little reason to know much about highway tar. However, I do have experience with laying asphalt, filling cracks, and sealcoating roads. Highways are mostly made of asphalt these days, not true tarmac. Sealcoats may contain either asphalt or (coal) tar or both. Sealants probably also have water, clay fillers, latex, polymers (including plastic), and etc other stuff in them.

Re:Expired? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373891)

Your response is the real reason why the term should not be used. It implies that patents, copyrights and so forth are actually property and should in some way be treated as if they were. This misconception results in bad court rulings, bad laws, and a confused public. Property is material, none of the things grouped under umbrella term are property, none of them share a legal or moral relativity to property, and most of the things grouped under that term don't even share moral and legal relativity with one another.

What sane nation would allow 95 year copyrights? (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373647)

In 1950, copyrighted works lasted for at most 56 years. So works in 1950 and before SHOULD be in the public domain. But in 1976/1998, those copyright terminations were removed, seemingly violating an implicit contract with the public.

A 95 year coyright term is no more sane than a 60 year patent term.

It is likely now that you will never see any copyright expire for any work created in your lifetime. The constitutional "limited time" has been largly ignored.

The US copyright term should be laughed out of the international arena as well, but information monopolies can be more profitable than oil, and money can purchase worldwide political support.

Patent date != Invention date (1)

Calibax (151875) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373781)

Does it matter when an item is invented? If the AK47 design wasn't patented back in the 1940s (remember that in the Soviet communist state everything belonged to the state anyway) then presumably the 1999 patent would be valid.

I guess that if Russia is expected to uphold IP rights, the rest of the world should abide by Russian patents. I doubt that anyone in Russia is interested in collecting money from desperately poor third-world countries - this would be aimed at the somewhat richer countries that manufacture these weapons and sell them to all comers.

Re:Expired? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373833)

'we need to stop using the term "Intellectual Property"'

Definitely, that term makes it sound as if we are referring to property. There is no actual tangible property when we are talking about any form of IP.

Prior art, etc. (5, Insightful)

ktakki (64573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373233)

From what I understand, Mikhail Kalashnikov based parts of the AK-47 design on various other weapons. The trigger group and bolt resemble those of the M1 Garand, and the pistol grip and gas assembly resemble those of the German StG44 (widely considered to be the first true assault rifle). [Source: AK47, Duncan Long, Paladin Press 1988] How much original content must a design have before it can be patentable?

During the Cold War, at least a dozen Warsaw Pact and non-aligned countries produced copies and variants of the AK47, with the Soviet Union's tacit, if not overt, blessing. Even now, new AKs are being built by blacksmiths in Pakistan and US gunsmiths (the latter do this to comply with ATF regulations that prohibit import of receivers and assembled rifles).

Now that the Cold War is over, Russia wants to get paid? I'd think that with all their oil and gas income, licensing fees would be a pittence by comparison.

k.

Re:Prior art, etc. (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373381)

The approval of the USSR was more than tacit. They gave the blueprints and told their subordinates to produce and sell these weapons and others. They caused the problem in the first place and now complain? Trying to put the cork back in the bottle when the genie is gone won't work.

Re:Prior art, etc. (1)

Vo1t (1079521) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373519)

Not only copies and variants but also improvements were done. As far as I can remember the version used today is a bit tweaked one, and some tweaks came from countries that AK was licensed to. So maybe at least all of those countries deserve a share in this (pityful) patent?

Re:Prior art, etc. (1)

enfield17 (1110889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373771)

The Soviet Union deliberately exported the manufacture of Kalashnikov rifles and ammo as an inducement for allies and client states. It was a powerful inducement, too, because local manufacture of weapons came with jobs for the boss to hand out and lots of other perks for the folks in power. The late conversion to IP and patent rights is pretty amusing. I'm also pretty certain the the AK design as a whole is not patentable. As others have pointed out, much prior art is involved.

Re:Prior art, etc. (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373879)

How much original content must a design have before it can be patentable?
I admit that my understanding of international patent agreements is poor. I have enough trouble understanding the patent laws in my own country. I'd imagine that it is entirely possible that the patent laws in Russia last a lifetime and do not accept prior art. Laws that apply inside a country are created by that country's government. They can write the law any way they want. International agreements are written on a case-by-case basis. Is prior art and length of patent written into Russia's agreements? Or are they simply claims of ownership that other signers of the agreement must abide by? Nations that do not have agreements with Russia can do what ever they want. As of yet, there is not a unified government of Earth that writes and enforces laws.

Declining?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373247)

Russia is not declining. Their growth rate since 1999 has been consistently significant. For example, the CIA figures for real growth rate in 2006 are US 3.4%, Russia 6.7%.

Re:Declining?! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373801)

I think you'd better look at the more important statistic; Russia's population decline.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Russi a#Declining_population [wikipedia.org]

The long term stability of Russia is truly in doubt if they can't either get birth rates up or start allowing substantial immigration. Considering the rather xenophobic nature of Russia, the latter doesn't seem terribly likely.

not sure how they'll enforce this... (1, Informative)

zonker (1158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373251)

The ak47 is the most widely used and produced gun in the world. The simplicity and durability are what makes it remarkable as it can take a lot of abuse and keep on working. It's not the best but there's a reason why demand has lasted so long.

The problem is that the Russian factory isn't the only one making it and most of the countries that are making it aren't exactly the kind that bends over to intellectual property demands. I don't see how they are going to enforce this as late in the game as it is...

AK-47 patent violations (5, Funny)

David20321 (961635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373269)

I'm glad I'm not the debt collector.

Re:AK-47 patent violations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373475)

Yes, because in Soviet Russia, debt collects you!

Re:AK-47 patent violations (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373485)

Ahh, you obviously never seen a repo man with one of these [ww2incolor.com] .

Re:AK-47 patent violations (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373657)

Come and get them.

Now seriously that gun was first tested in 1947, we are in 2007 isn't any patent of that supposed to expire by now?

Re:AK-47 patent violations (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373667)

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Good! (1, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373295)

Let gun production grind to a halt due to patent issues. In fact, let RIAA lawyers join the fight to express solidarity of assholes worldwide. The point is, African child soldiers don't know how to make guns. Iraq doesn't have any manufacturing capacity for AK-47s or bombs. Someone has to make those guns and sell it to all those people. If that someone goes to jail for intellectual property violations, all the merrier.

Re:Good! (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373407)

African child soldiers don't know how to make guns.

No, but tribesmen operating primitive machine shops in huts all over Southern Asia do.

rj

Re:Good! (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373465)

War and brutality existed LONG before gunpowder and guns were ever invented.

Re:Good! (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373591)

and its a good thing we have guns to make sure it keeps going.

To Russia: (1)

axia777 (1060818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373317)

Good luck on that. Can you squeeze blood from a rock? Can you get money from mostly illegal gun makers selling AK's to poor third world people around the planet for the price of a few goats? This is idiocy plain and simple.

Champagne (1)

bluegreenone (526698) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373319)

This reminds me of the controversy with France wanting to claim that "Champagne" can only refer to wine produced in the Champagne region of France, and not wines produced in California for instance. Perhaps the producers of the knockoff AK-47s should adopt the same solution the California winemakers did and call their product "Sparkling Machine Guns".
...
NJ Transit [nynj.net] , PATH train [nynj.net] schedules online

Re:Champagne (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373393)

The French weren't able to patent sparkling wine making process, or they'd still have a legitimate claim, assuming the patent was still valid -- talk about prior art. The issue of appelation is but also settled by various international treaties.

Hahhaaa... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373323)

"It is not a secret that such production is carried out in a number of eastern European countries, including NATO members," Sergei Ivanov said

Let's see some of these pro "IP rights" NATO and Western countries talk their way out of this. Good for the goose, good for the gander.

Prior art (1)

willith (218835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373345)

Hey, I think I got some prior art for ya...

...SAY HELLO TO MY LEETLE FRIEND!!

in Soviet Russia (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373361)

You have right to flood world arms market and make profit

Profit (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373431)

Step 1) Develop revolutionary assault rifle.
Step 2) Take over Eastern Europe.
Step 3) Encourage production of said assault rifle by communist means.
Step 4) ???
Step 5) Profit!

And all that Russian Industrial Espionage (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373435)

Remember how they built their atomic bomb? Where did a lot of their semi conductor and avionic technology originate from? What was that exactly? Or does stealing Western IP not count as piracy under new Russian laws?

News Items re Patents 101 (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373441)

1. What country issued the patent? (i.e., where is it enforceable?)
2. What is the patent number?
3. What, exactly, does it claim to cover?

How many lazy articles (/., wikipedia, or otherwise) must we endure until submitters learn to include basic facts?

Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373447)

This has much more to do with Russian politics than with IP. Russians have always cosidered former USSR countries part of their sphere of influence and nationalists have been angered by things like the removal of statues of soviet soldiers. This is a retaliation (or at least the show of one) for the increased independence of the newly formed states.

And in related news... (1)

borg (95568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373529)

How is an AK-47 like a QWERTY keyboard?

http://www.salon.com/tech/htww/?last_story=/tech/h tww/2007/06/01/ak_47/ [salon.com]

Seriously, the linked article is dated 1 June 2007. The World Bank policy paper it covers is from April 2007 (http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDS ContentServer/IW3P/IB/2007/04/13/000016406_2007041 3145045/Rendered/PDF/wps4202.pdf).

Quote from the paper (also quoted in the salon article):

The AK-47's ubiquity [in conflicts in third world countries] could alternatively be explained as a result of a path dependent process. Economic historians recognize that an inferior product may persist when a small but early advantage becomes large over time and builds up a legacy that makes switching costly (David 1975). In the case of the AK-47 that early advantage may be that as a Soviet invention it was not subject to patent and so could be freely copied.

Either this patent story is a joke, or Sergei Ivanov is spending too much time on teh internets...

ok, no problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373549)

AK-47 (7.62) is old (very old) model, no longer in use in East Europe. In the meantime there were AK-74 (5.45) and various models roughly based upon. The only big producers of AK-47 are Russia itslef for export and probably China -- also for export.

Russia argues witch China over IP laws??

Shiny! But who's bad guy?

Doesn't matter to me (5, Funny)

brogdon (65526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373575)

I get my weapons from allofrifle.com

They say it's totally legal

Their weapon of choice. (1)

FoxNSox (998422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373585)

Not surprising as this is the Russian weapon of choice. My fathers partner, an ex-russian citizen, was taught during High School to field strip an AK-47 Assault Rifle.

The question is, how will this "intellectual property" be protected? Will international sanctions be enforced upon any nation that does not follow suit?

Re:Their weapon of choice. (1)

crAckZ (1098479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373729)

This "IP" argument could be good for money though. if they could push it hard enough and say so and so made thousands we want X$ for what you have done. this is just a quick way to make some revenue for those not paying attention.

Who cares about AK-47s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373635)

The real man's assault rifle is the Swiss Stgw90, or SIG SG-550. Hopp Suisse!

How about a 'useage fee'? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373653)

Have to kick in $ ever time you shoot someone... Or, how about you have to give up a % of the take if you are a revolutionary.

This is insane. The design is what, nearly 50 years old now and is perhaps the most commonly used assault rifle in the world?

Dont expect me to be paying up anytime soon.

Presidential Memo To Russia: +1, Patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373723)


You mean the world's biggest gun runner [whitehouse.org] will have to pay to proliferate
world conflict?

Cheney needs to know.

Thanks,
W

Just my opinion but (1)

milatchi (694575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373807)

wouldn't it be hard to file a lawsuit against terrorists or foreign governments and have them appear in court to pay royalties or negotiate a fee? Sounds too little too late to me considering how long the AK-47 has been in use.

Are you serious? (2, Interesting)

v8interceptor (586130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373825)

Of course the AK-47 should be patented. It's the arguably the most recognizable weapon in the world. The technology is irrelevant: to credit the poster it is very well known now and nothing particularly ground-breaking, but we're talking about more of a 'brand' issue here. For better or for worse (and I'm thinking worse), the AK-47 is absolutely ubiquitous with almost every non-Western (from ex-USSR to Somalia to Iraq to Afghanistan) armed force. This is more of a trademark issue, and perhaps that's not quite what the OP was talking about. Just like the VW Beetle and the iPod, the AK-47 is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world.

That said, the Russians probably have about as much chance of getting royalties for the AK-47 as the Cuban government does for every Che Guevara shirt in the world. But imagine if they did... every Cuban would have a Corvette (well, as long as Fidel was happy with that, but that's another story).
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