(L) VPK-39272 Volk armored vehicle (R) Night Wolves President Alexander Zaldostanov (aka, the Surgeon)
© Wikipedia / Vitaly V. Kuzmin; Sputnik / Aleksandr Galperin
(L) VPK-39272 Volk armored vehicle/ Vitaly V. Kuzmin; (R) Night Wolves President Alexander Zaldostanov (aka, the Surgeon)
AMZ, the defense firm that makes the Tigr, one of Russia's modern armored cars, can't call their latest project 'Wolf' because Russia's largest biker club, the 'Night Wolves' owns the trademark. So AMZ is taking them to court.

Arzamas Machine-building Plant (AMZ) wants to call their latest armored car 'Wolf,' but they've hit a surprising road bump: the 'Night Wolves' have had the trademark for the word since 2000. Their leader, Aleksandr 'Surgeon' Zaldostanov, has personally owned it for 13 years now. So now, the Russian manufacturer has taken 'Surgeon' to intellectual property court, claiming he isn't using the trademark.

AMZ has been supplying Russia with its top-of-the-line Tigr armored car (or 'tiger' in Russian) for nearly fifteen years now. The Tigr protects its crew from gunfire, shrapnel from nearby grenades and artillery, and even mines. But time doesn't stand still, and AMZ has been working on an upgrade for its 'tiger': the Volk (or 'wolf' in Russian). The Volk is faster, better armored, and more powerful than the Tigr, and, unlike its predecessor, it's modular: the army can quickly convert it into an armored truck or an APC, if necessary. The new version is just about ready, but AMZ can't sell a vehicle called 'Volk' because the trademark belongs Zaldostanov.

VPK-39272 Volk armored vehicle
© Wikipedia / Vitaly V. Kuzmin
VPK-39272 Volk armored vehicle
Aleksandr 'Surgeon' Zaldostanov is the permanent leader of the 'Night Wolves.' Zaldostanov founded the group in the wake of the USSR's collapse with a handful of other motorcycle enthusiasts, but the club soon grew to be the largest association of bikers in Russia. The Night Wolves have since become something of a 'patriotic' organization: the club has organized motorcycle rides in support of the Russian Orthodox Church and 'traditional values,' and is one of the founding factions of Russia's Anti-Maidan, a counter-protest movement. Even Russia's President Vladimir Putin took part in several of their rides.

Night Wolves biker community
© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov
Night Wolves biker community
The trademark dispute surprised Zaldostanov, according to an interview in RBC. The biker said that he found out about the suit from the media, and that he thinks AMZ just couldn't get a hold of him. Surgeon stressed that he will not part with the brand itself, since it's a part of their history, but noted that he "will gladly transfer the rights to calls these wonderful armored cars 'Volk'."

AMZ has been building armored vehicles for decades. Originally a car parts factory for GAZ in the 1970s, by the 1980s, it began building Soviet armored personnel carriers like the BTR-80. Its next big production push came in 2006, when it started building the Tigr for the Russian Defense Ministry, which quickly became Russia's favorite APC.

The Tigr has remained popular both in Russia and abroad, with over a dozen countries using it, including China and Uruguay. The Volk, developed in 2014, is on track to replace the Tigr as Russia's standard armored car.