Two Chinese companies had intellectual property legal dispute in the USA. The global leader of drone market, DJI came out shorter and it may cause them a big loss on the US market.
Many news sites wrote about it (PetaPixel, DPreview, Fstoppers, SUASnews, etc.) the ruling made on 2nd March finds DJI breaking the patent of Autel. They are ordered from 2nd July to stop selling the affected drone models in the USA which is quite a big market for the DJI drones. The affected models are Mavic Pro, Mavic Pro Platinum, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic Air and Mavic Spark. In short these are most of the smaller and most popular models, almost all they offer below the professional aircrafts. Autel makes legal moves to include the company’s Phantom and Inspire product lines in this ruling too. This can be a deep hit on the incomes of DJI as it affects most of their lineup. We don’t know yet how DJI reacts to the situation – so far they didn’t publish any comment on it.
It would not be surprising to have the two companies settle at some patent fee as DJI hardly can afford such a loss. Behind the scenes probably they are conducting serious talks about continued sales of their drones.
It seems Autel filed a patent in 2013 (US Patent No. 9260184) describing the solution what most of the popular drones utilize: “A rotary wing aircraft apparatus has arms extending from a body, and a rotor assembly attached to an end of each arm. Each rotor assembly has a rotor blade releasably attached by a lock mechanism. A clockwise rotor blade is releasably attached to a first rotor assembly by engagement in a clockwise lock mechanism, and a counterclockwise rotor blade is releasably attached to a second rotor assembly by engagement in a counterclockwise lock mechanism. The clockwise rotor blade is engageable only with the clockwise lock mechanism and the counterclockwise rotor blade is engageable only with the counterclockwise lock mechanism and cannot be engaged in the clockwise lock mechanism. A leg extends down from each rotor assembly to support the apparatus on the ground.”