C.G. Haenel Ordered to Stop Producing & Recall the CR223 Rifle

C.G. Haenel Ordered to Stop Producing and Recall the CR223 Rifle
C.G. Haenel Ordered to Stop Producing and Recall the CR223 Rifle

DÜSSELDORF, Germany -(Ammoland.com)- A German court has ordered C.G. Haenel, a child company of Caracal, to recall and destroy all CR223 rifles. The company also is prohibited from manufacturing or selling the gun.

The order came after Haenel lost an appeal to a 2021 patent infringement case launched by Heckler & Koch. In the Düsseldorf Regional Court, HK’s lawyers argued that Haenel had infringed on patent EP 2 018 508 B1. The patent covers the breech design of HK’s 416 and 417 rifles. The breech allows water to drain from the action, allowing the firearm to fire even after the gun has been completely submerged in water. The court found that HK proved its accusation that Haenel ripped off their design. Haenel immediately appealed the court’s decision to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

On December 30, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled against Haenel and ordered the company to recall every CR223 in circulation and destroy all firearms. The court decision comes on the heels of a September court ruling in the German Federal Patent Court that also found that Haenel violated HK’s patent. HK sued Haenel after the company narrowly beat out HK for a German military contract to replace the aging HK G36.

The Haenel MK556, the military select-fire version of the CR223, beat the HK 416 for a German military contract.

Haenel claimed that the HK patent was invalid because it was a solution to a problem and was not new and innovative. The German military has now revoked the contract.

The court stated: “The patent in suit concerns a weapon breech system for firearms and relates to the problem of liquids penetrating weapons. In a statement of claim dated December 9, 2020, the plaintiff filed an action for nullity and asserted that the patent was inadmissibly extended compared to the original application and not patentable because the solution found to the problem and protected was not new and innovative.”

The MK556 is not named in the case but does use the same breech as the CR223. The firearm is imported into the United States by B&T and sold as the B&T BT-15. Several other Haenel firearms use the same breech design. The company hasn’t unveiled how it plans to recall all CR223 rifles.

As of this writing, the B&T BT-15 is still for sale on various websites. […and will likey become a collector’s item.] The German court order doesn’t seem to limit the recall to Europe. It also doesn’t specify if the guns can be destroyed in a foreign country, but Haenel will have to prove to HK that the guns have been destroyed. The company also must provide HK with all accounting records of profits from selling the CR223 rifles. HK can use this financial information to seek further damages from Haenel.

American companies are under no legal obligation to return the firearms to Haenel. The recall and the halt to production will have an interesting effect on the market. Guns that leave the market see their value skyrocket to collectors who will scoop them before the supply dries up. The B&T BT-15 sells for north of $3000, leaving many questioning if even collectors are willing to pay much more for an AR-15-like model. Although, if past trends are any indication, collectors will shell out the money for a gun that will likely never be made again.

Although the most likely outcome is the shuttering of the production of the CR223 rifle, there is still an outside chance of HK and Haenel agreeing to a licensing structure. That seems like an unlikely outcome. Remember that this might be your last chance if you are on the fence about picking up a CR223 firearm.

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

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If you have one it is time to hold onto it.


Duane, I don’t but I sure wish I did.


Wow!! That is F’ed up on HK’s parts sore loser for losing a Military contract so they pull an RBT and sue over patent infringement. Then there is the German Military, which must be run by a similar moron like the US Government’s Let’s go Brandon and dropping a good firearm for a lesser lower quality firearm..

Last edited 27 days ago by ashort

Sore loser? Come ONNN they developed a solution to a problem patented it had the patent ripped off.
If George started a new soda company, ripped Coke’s formula, and undercut price to get the contract for all the NFL stadia I suppose you[‘d be fiine with that?

Dogma Factor

Looks like HK needs to be taken to court in Germany for coping Colt.

I find it ironic….


I bought one 18 months ago – almost traded for a NBF Colt Python made in ’85. So glad I held back. As far as the German Courts – pffffttt…lol. It is not a bad rifle – smooth trigger, have only fired 2 ea 20 rd mags through it. Time to clean it up and wait to see if there’s any interest from collectors.

Last edited 27 days ago by Steve

So the German military is going to return their guns, and switch to a lower quality firearm (according to their own tests) just because of a patent issue? I know it kills the incentive in private markets l, but:

what if millitary weapons contracts had no patent restrictions?

That surely would get the military the most effective designs possible.

Last edited 27 days ago by GeniusJoe

Quite the opposite. Private companies invest immense amounts developing products for military use. They do this not out of love-of-country but in expectation of reaping rewards in form of government contracts. Why would anyone invest if someone else can step in later to get those contracts selling products based on their R&D expenditures?

IP is valuable property. What you are suggesting is to allow government to ignore property rights and just take whatever they want. We’ve already got too much of that – please don’t encourage more.


I have been issued 2 Plant Patents for hybridized lillium species I developed to market. They last 20 years before expiration. That’s not long enough, IMHO. You rarely make much money on patented plants because of the short period you are the sole producer/licenser. I found it takes at least 10 years to recoup your R & D and production investments and popularizing the subspecies. About the time you’re starting to see profit, your patent protections expire. Not to mention dealing with unscrupulous actors who ignore your property protections, it’s much easier to rip off intellectual property especially when plant… Read more »


My problem was that the big companies didn’t want my product, waited 10 years and then produced it themselves. That advertisement about we will help you patent your product so bring your ideas to us from what I have heard is a rip off too.


That’s one of the biggest problems besides outright theft like detailed in this article. I’ve known a couple of associates that had the exact thing happen to them too. Unscrupulous agents with deep pockets and no moral compass whatsoever. If anything we should increase protections to prevent people/companies from strong arming the inventors or creators out of rightful ownership of their intellectual property and ideas by waiting them out or throwing up obstacles keeping the inventors frustrated. I too am leery of these outfits who will help you patent your invention. Invent something new or better something and all of… Read more »

Big George

You’re right. A friend and I invented a gunsmithing tool that IMO is better and would be less expensive than anything on the market. But we’re afraid to market through one of these ‘patent’ attorneys because they’d say, ‘no thanks’, then we’d see it advertised for ‘$29.95, but WAIT!! So here I sit with it.


Indeed, patents can & do inhibit the development of exist9ngtechnologies into better products until the patent expires- and even then, as you as an inventor encountered, the threat of legal action keeps the big companies running and the technological improvements sadly at bay.

And the joke of the technology/product improvement patent is just that, a joke. They are practically never approved as they are most often ruled as not technological improvements, but patent-infringements instead.

Last edited 26 days ago by GeniusJoe

That’s completely different and irrelevant to war and getting soldiers the product that best keeps them alive and the enemy dead. We put all sorts of rights/laws aside when it comes to getting the best soldiers – the law should also bend to get the same soldiers the best kit.

I don’t care if you patented a prettier flower or more productive crop, I’m talking WAR.

Last edited 26 days ago by GeniusJoe

Beause if patents were ignored for millitary contracts, it would open the playing field intellectually to use best ideas and implementation-of-ideas in all products for the soldiers on the battlefield. Thus resulting in the best implemenation being used, but also the best innovation of technology being offered to the soldiets, not just a product that is inferior because one party patented it first but implemented it poorly – such as in this EXACT case. Just because one person thought of it first, shouldn’t cause a nation’s soldiers to use weapons in combat proven to be inferior – the millitary should… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by GeniusJoe

It does not appear the replacement rifles have been produced and delivered. The awarding of the contract was what triggered H&K’s response.
This arms comany islikely toast as the market, particularly in Europe nd for military products, would be chary of dealing with a company that would steal designs. A metter of integrity. If they’d cheat and cut corners there, where else would they? I’d pass on such a company.


The gun passed rigorous millitary trials better than H&K. The only patent infringement was the placement and shape of a fricken drainage device for water. Im sure glad the soldiers will get inferior weapons because a patent beef…. yup, great outcome.

Last edited 26 days ago by GeniusJoe

If that’s what you think, then respectfully, you are a moron and have a thieving morality. It must such being you and worse being associated with you.