German Leopard 2 Tank Builders Settle Legal Dispute

According to news sources, German arms makers Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann have settled a legal dispute over the rights to the Leopard 2, one of the world’s most advanced battle tanks, a court said on Tuesday. A boom in defense orders due to the war in Ukraine, and in particular demand for Leopard tanks from Kyiv to help in the fight against Russian forces, has boosted both companies.

Duesseldorf-based Rheinmetall makes the cannon of the Leopard 2 and Munich-based KMW makes its chassis. So who owns the tank? KMW had taken legal action against statements made by Rheinmetall Chief Executive Armin Papperger in a newspaper interview with the Neue Zuercher Zeitung in March, in which he was quoted as saying that Rheinmetall owned the rights to the Leopard 2A4 model.

A district court in Munich said a hearing for Tuesday had been canceled because of the settlement between the two companies. It gave no details. Rheinmetall said both parties had sought to settle the dispute as quickly as possible with the aim of returning to day-to-day business.

“In the statements that have been the subject of the complaint, neither Mr. Papperger nor Rheinmetall AG wanted or want to suggest that Rheinmetall AG has exclusive rights to the Leopard 2A4 main battle tank,” the company said in a statement. Without giving any financial details, it said the legal process had been terminated by mutual consent.

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