We are extremely disappointed with the BAAINBw’s decision to exclude C.G. Haenel from the award procedure and to award the contract to H&K. Throughout the tender process, Haenel has conducted itself in a professional manner and sought to address any questions in respect of its bid in a transparent manner based on facts and away from the media spotlight. Most recently, we submitted comprehensive responses to the allegation made against our company, which were supported by an expert report prepared by one of the leading firms in Germany. Our responses and the expert report leave no doubt that all the allegations made against Haenel, including allegations regarding patent infringement, are unfounded and that the exclusion of our company from the award procedure based on these allegations is unlawful. We are reviewing BAAINBw’s decision and will take all necessary legal action to protect our interests.
Findings of the expert report
At no time C.G. Haenel did commit any professional misconduct that could cast doubt on the integrity of the company. The expert opinion commissioned by the MoD lacks expert content that would have been necessary to prove misconduct:
- The accusation of a patent infringement essentially relates to the so-called over-the-beach capability of the rifle to be procured. In simple terms, this is the ability of the rifle to be immediately operational again even after water penetration. C.G. Haenel has ensured this capability by means of a technical solution which indisputably does not infringe any patents. The patent infringement alleged in the expert opinion relates exclusively to the existence of a technical provision in the MK556 rifle which is independent of this and which not even the competitor itself considers to be relevant in the sense of the patent and has not made the subject of a warning notice. However, this technical provision mentioned in the expert opinion corresponds to the absolute state of the art, which has already been used for decades in various rifles of international manufacturers. A patent infringement is ruled out here.
- Moreover, we would like to point out that there is currently no legal dispute pending between C.G. Haenel and Heckler & Koch regarding the MK556 rifle offered by C.G. Haenel. The patent law proceedings considered by the MoDs expert opinion refer either to the CR223 rifle, which has a completely different design with regard to the relevant technical features, or to the decision of the Düsseldorf Regional Court of November 20, 2020. With regard to the MK556, the Düsseldorf Regional Court stated that „litigation is not yet pending with regard to the disputed form.“ Heckler & Koch has not initiated either main proceedings under patent law or preliminary injunction proceedings with regard to the MK556. C.G. Haenel has not even received a warning in this regard.
- The alleged patent infringement according to the second expert opinion on the spare part „magazine“ has no relevance for C.G. Haenel. At no point did the company make the magazine, which was released for appraisal, the subject of the offer. It is therefore not apparent to what extent an alleged patent infringement should have any effect.
The expert opinion commissioned by C.G. Haenel clearly concludes that there is no patent infringement. A corresponding patent would be invalid in any case. Therefore, we are forced to take legal action against the decision to exclude C.G. Haenel from the further award procedure.