http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000100&sid=abXnyAwo5zX4&refer=germany April 21 (Bloomberg) -- Colt Defense LLC, the exclusive supplier of the M4 rifle to the U.S. military, claimed in a lawsuit that Heckler & Koch Inc. and Bushmaster Firearms Inc. are selling ``copycat'' versions of the weapon. Closely held Colt seeks a court order to block Bushmaster and Heckler & Koch from using the M4 name or design in any of their products. Colt claims Bushmaster's XM-15 E2S ``M4 Type'' and Heckler & Koch's planned ``HKM4'' are ``identical'' to Colt's, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia. West Hartford, Connecticut-based Colt has sold more than 7 million M16 rifles and M4 carbines, which are lightweight rifles with short barrels. The M4, which is used by the U.S. military and armed forces in more than 80 countries, isn't available to the general public. ``Bushmaster has intentionally copied the names used by Colt and the look and feel of Colt's M4 carbine in order to mislead the consuming public into believing that Bushmaster's products are comparable to Colt's,'' according to the suit. A message left with an answering service for Bushmaster in Windham, Maine, wasn't immediately returned. A message left with to Heckler & Koch's U.S. office in Sterling, Virginia, wasn't immediately returned. Oberndorf, Germany-based Heckler & Koch last year expressed a ``serious interest'' in acquiring Colt and signed a confidentiality agreement to review Colt's financial and technical information, the suit said. After receiving the information, Heckler & Koch terminated discussions and introduced ``HKM4,'' which has ``the same look and feel'' as Colt's M4, at a trade show, the suit said. BAE Systems Plc in 2002 announced it was selling Heckler & Koch, a key supplier of armed forces and police in the European Union and NATO countries, to a private group of German investors. Colt Defense descends from the company founded by Samuel Colt in 1836. In 2002, the company split into Colt Defense to handle military weaponry and Colt Manufactory Company Inc. to sell commercial products Colt Challenges Rivals? Illegal Marketing Practices HARTFORD, Conn. --- Colt Defense LLC today filed suit against Bushmaster Firearms, Inc. and Heckler & Koch and demanded that the two companies end their illegal marketing campaigns with respect to the Colt M4 carbine. In its lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Colt cited acts of trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, false advertising, patent infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices. Colt is seeking injunctive relief and damages against the two companies. Colt is the leading supplier of military and law enforcement weaponry and related products to the U.S. Government and many American allies. It holds a sole source contract to exclusively supply the M4 carbine to all branches of the U.S. military. Only Colt may manufacture an authentic M4 carbine; those made by others are imitations. The M4 carbine evolved from the most combat-proven family of weapons, the Colt-developed M16 rifle. To develop this carbine, Colt at its own expense integrated 40 years of combat experience of the M16 rifle with advances in technology. Colt then offered this carbine to the U.S. Army that subjected it to a multi-year certification process before finally accepting it for use by American troops. ?This case is about the systematic efforts of Bushmaster and Heckler & Koch to confront us, not as competitors on a level playing field, but with unlawful marketing practices that misrepresent the nature of their products and disparage the products of Colt Defense,? said Colt?s President and Chief Executive Officer, Lieutenant General William M. Keys, USMC (retired). ?Colt?s products have been the mainstay of the U.S. military for over 100 years, and have played a significant role in both World Wars and the Vietnamese conflict. Today, our products are in the hands of our elite forces in Iraq. Our reputation was earned the hard way, on the battlefield. And it is our battle-tested reputation that these defendants are attempting to exploit by selling M4 knockoffs,? said General Keys. According to the complaint, both Bushmaster and Heckler & Koch are intentionally and illegally blurring the distinction between their products and the products manufactured by Colt, particularly the M4 carbine. Both Bushmaster and Heckler & Koch have developed copycat versions of the M4 to profit from Colt?s good name and reputation. In a transparent attempt to mislead potential customers into believing that they are buying ?American Made? products, Heckler & Koch, whose principal place of business is Oberndorf, Germany, falsely states that it will manufacture firearms in a plant in Georgia that does not yet exist. In fact, Heckler & Koch?s manufacturing and engineering is performed outside the country, according to the complaint. The complaint alleges that Bushmaster, which has no legal right or authority to sell to the U.S. military, has intentionally and illegally incorporated the look and feel of the Colt M4 into its ?M4 type? carbine. By duplicating the appearance of a real M4 weapon, and employing calculated marketing that blurs the distinction between Colt?s products and their own, Bushmaster deceptively markets its ?M4 type? carbine to the civilian market and foreign governments, hoping that consumers will confuse the goodwill associated with the Colt brand with Bushmaster, according to the complaint. The complaint also alleges that Bushmaster has plagiarized Colt?s M16 and M4 parts numbers. By doing so, Bushmaster intentionally misrepresents to its non-military customers that Bushmaster parts are interchangeable with Colt?s AR-15, M16(TM) and M4 products -- a misrepresentation that could have serious safety repercussions. Colt Defense LLC is an American company with a direct lineage to the original company founded by Samuel Colt in 1836. Colt Defense products command a global presence as the weapons of choice in over 50 countries. Located in West Hartford, Connecticut, its manufacturing facilities are ISO 9001-2000 certified and quality-certified by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Colt name is famous in the United States and throughout the world, and has long been associated in the minds of military, civilian and law enforcement customers with high quality and innovation. Many of Colt?s products have achieved legendary status. Over 9,000,000 authentic M16 rifles and M4 carbines have been installed for military and law enforcement use around the world.