This year’s consumer electronics show (CES) saw Yuneec announce their ‘Typhoon H’ drone which got everyone just a little excited. DJI has long been the biggest player in the market and this new device was threatening to spark the market into life more than ever before. However, DJI has now come out and said that Yuneec has infringed their patents by using features on their own drones which relate to patents DJI own. DJI have also now filed a lawsuit which could have a devastating impact for all involved.
DJI has said that Yuneec has stepped on toes when it comes to target tracking and the interchangeable platform features. With Yuneec possibly using ideas that are patented, DJI has asked for all Yuneec products that have features that potentially infringe patents to be taken off the shelves until the case has been resolved. Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati has already stepped in to represent DJI.
The Phantom 4 has recently been released by DJI and is the first of its kind with ‘sense and avoid technology’. The first product of this type was actually announced by Yuneec after demonstrating a prototype at CES but the under-fire competitor are yet to place a product on the market. Yuneec has attracted much interested in their climb to the top including Intel who has worked with the drone makers in an attempt to compete with the market leaders.
The lawsuit comes as a bit of a shock in a normally quiet drone world and marks the first ever legal battle between two companies in this ever-growing industry. Although this is the first, it is unlikely to be the last though as the same was also once true in the smartphone market not so long ago.
It remains to be seen how this situation will unfold but it is likely to cause a major shift in the manner in which things are achieved. If Yuneec has not infringed, the market could possibly reach the most competitive it has ever been and DJI would have to ramp up their efforts to stay in front. However if DJI are successful, could that be the beginning of another long spell as market leaders until anyone else is able to seriously compete in the premium camera drone market?