I fail to see the connection between The Gardner Bros.' abusive prosecution of their IP and the release and sponsorship of the Shocker, or how that could relate to the new Axe.
Everyone's anxious to see how KEE chooses to utilize the SP IP, but I think for the most part the scheme will continue as it was. The other major electronic gun manufacturers will probably continue to pay them their licensing fees and KEE will benefit from no longer owing fees to anyone else for selling their own guns.
The real question is what will happen with DYE, because under the old scheme DYE was able to secure a reduced, if not free use of the SP IP in exchange for not prosecuting SP for using technology covered by its own Matrix bolt patents, which the Ion and Shocker were apparently using. Because KEE, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't manufacture or distribute anything that would be covered under the Matrix patent, DYE may need to re-negotiate some sort of agreement with KEE to continue marketing electronic guns.
One more worrying prospect is the idea that KEE, as a market force, is far more powerful than Smart Parts ever was, especially now with the economy slowed down as it is and the paintball market in general being smaller and more vulnerable. Whereas Smart Parts could not have possibly met the demand for electronic guns on their own in the mid 2000s, when they were pursuing their litigation (making licensing in conjunction with their own manufacture the optimal situation), KEE may not have that limitation. Their capacity to produce markers in Taiwan, import, and sell them is massive.
On the bright side, KEE themselves have greatly scaled down their product line as of late, so if they were to move for ending the licensing agreements and attempting to establish a monopoly on electronic guns, at least until the patents expire, they are far less well positioned to do that now than they were in the past.
On the other hand, when I see a company like Tippmann releasing a mechanical-only version of their Phenom, which in my estimation is a gun no one was asking for, I have to wonder if some major players are anticipating a possible sea-change.