Russia is working to reach an agreement with China on the intellectual property rights (IPR) protection of Kalashnikov assault rifles, the head of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin said.

‘We have received China’s national patent for Kalashnikov products. The documents have been handed to the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation to prepare and conclude an intergovernmental agreement in the field,’ Isaikin told media persons.

He said the process of reaching a deal with China will be lengthy, but that Russia hopes it will be finished soon, and noted the huge number of unlicensed Kalashnikov rifles produced all over the world.

‘There are about 100 million Kalashnikov assault rifles worldwide, of which half are counterfeit, that is produced without licences, patents and intergovernmental agreements,’ he said.

Isaikin said over 15 countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, Egypt, and China, produce the rifles either on expired licences or without them. Only Venezuela manufactures them legally.

‘Even America produces the assault rifles, even though the country has never received a licence for their manufacture.’ Isaikin said there are at least 30 organisations illegally producing and trafficking the weapons, whose activities are very difficult to prevent.

The best-known Kalashnikov rifle is the 1947 model known as the AK-47. It is the most widely produced used assault rifle in the world, and is used by both regular armies and militant groups.

The creator of the AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov, is 89 years old and lives in the Russian city of Izhevsk.