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UAV patent battles wage on

Matt Braunel March 2, 2021

Industry leaders have started yet another fight over patent coverage for drones. DJI Technology recently filed a defensive suit against QFO Labs to resolve whether QFO’s patent covers DJI’s products.

QFO Labs markets their Quad Fighter Drone and Mimix single-hand controller, claiming the drone “is designed to fly in small indoor areas” and “is built specifically for gaming,” including battling with other drones. QFO represents that the Quad Fighter and Mimix may be protected by U.S. Patent Nos. 7,931,239, 9,004,973, 9,073,532, 9,011,250 and D691,217. QFO’s patents have litigation history, including in suits involving Parrot S.A., Best Buy, Target, Amazon and Brookstone Stores.

DJI offers a number of drones for consumer, professional, enterprise and agriculture uses and references that “DJI’s UAV products constituted more than 75% of the Part 107 unmanned aircrafts registered in the United States.” According to DJI, their FPV System “was designed for the drone racing industry.”  DJI collaborates with MotionPilot S.A. in developing its controller. QFO sent MotionPilot a patent license agreement.

In this latest suit, DJI alleges that the letter to MotionPilot, along with QFO’s patent litigation history, provide a sufficient case or controversy for the Court to resolve whether DJI’s products infringe QFO’s patent rights.

The case is: DJI Technology, et al. v. QFO Labs, Inc., Case No.1:21-cv00276 (D. DE). For more information on this case, please see this recent Bloomberg article.

Matt Braunel is a partner in Thompson Coburn’s Intellectual Property practice group.