Clash of the Titans, DJI sue Yuneec


DJI, the world’s leading maker of unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) and camera technology, Friday filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Yuneec International Co. Ltd. and Yuneec USA, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

The complaint asserts that Yuneec’s products and technology infringe two DJI patents and seeks injunctive relief to halt the further sale of the infringing Yuneec products and systems.

DJI’s complaint alleges that Yuneec’s UAV products infringe one or more claims of DJI’s U.S. Patent Numbers 9,164,506, titled “Systems and methods for target tracking,” and 9,280,038, titled “Interchangeable Mounting Platform.”

DJI has invested a substantial amount of resources over the course of nearly a decade into the research and development of UAVs.  This investment has generated technology that is fundamental to the future of the UAV and related industrial applications.

DJI welcomes competition, but is committed to protecting its intellectual property. Friday’s filing is a response to safeguard that investment, to protect customers and partners and to promote genuine innovation in this promising area.

DJI holds hundreds of patents worldwide, including at least 30 issued in the U.S. and has at least 50 applications pending there. DJI offers state-of-the-art products and solutions for aerial photography, cinematography, remote tracking and monitoring, geological surveying, and many other commercial, personal, and industrial applications for professionals and hobbyists in the fields of journalism, filmmaking, emergency services, industrial equipment and road monitoring, and many others.

DJI is represented by the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.

Contact: Adam Lisberg, DJI North America Communications Director,

More comment and the full complaint here

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  • @Todd - I think Yuneec has been building Horizon Hobby (Blade) products for many years - maybe since the start of their foray into mutirotors and maybe even before. They also built electric REAL airplanes. That is one indication of the shallowness of this lawsuit - that whoever wrote it didn't seem to know that or else is trying to fool the judge or the other side? Anyone who has looked at this industry has known Yuneec built stuff for Horizon - and Walkera (cameras) for that matter. Exactly how long is another question, but I suspect it's been many years...certainly not like the suit says that Yuneec got an idea in 2014...

  • Well, whatever happens,  as an experienced hobby-class muticopter and R/C helicopter builder/pilot who at any given time owns a dozen or so of these wonderful aircraft, I'll give up my Yuneec (Blade) Chroma (rebranded/speced by Horizon) and its great Tx and very, very nice 4K camera (CGO3) when DJI's law-bots pry my cold dead fingers from it, as the saying goes. This thing is the ultimate opposite of DIY. I love DIY stuff, but sometimes it's just great to go with something that out of the box functions exactly the same way every time, with zero drama, zero fussing, hassle-free deployment, that flies gracefully and looks nice, and so on. A fabulous machine.

  • It's why open-source is the best defence against patent trolling, IMO John.

  • @ John. might say steal then protect.

    Of course, that was also par for the course for Apple and Microsoft.

    Not to forget Xerox PARC where Apple IOS, Windows and even the Mouse actually came from.

  • Developer

    It's the same old story all over again. Small companies innovate, while large companies protect assets.

  • That February 2010 video from Mikrokopter you linked to  is a classic. ( DJI's first  multirotor flight controller came out at least 1.5 year later, not to mention  follow-me years later after that.

  • Moderator

    Remember DJI's X project video back last November when they claimed new stuff Anyone that has been around for a while knows they joined an OS project then forked it and stopped contributing. The clever, very clever thing they did was wrap the innards in what was at the time the smartest case and then got a high profile American chap to shout about it. He did very well.  

  • This is the first time I ever heard the name Yuneec.  Not sure if its the same exact company.  I also think they made a small rc toy coaxial helicopter that looked like a spaceman around the same time as the video. If I am not mistaken, Yuneec has been around for a minute.

  • @Todd you are correct about the patent system - on the other hand I don't know if there is a better way and it's in the US Constitution, so reform is unlikely. I have had to deal with the USPTO a number of times and it's like most everything else in capitalism - if you have a really good lawyer and keep appealing, calling and explaining your application, they will likely give up and grant you your patent on something or another. 

    DJI has money - online records show them (and most every big IP business) filing thousands of patents. That's the way of the world, I guess, but hey should concentrate on the things which are really novel and/or not obvious. 

    I don't think DJI feels threatened. I think it's a "Bonfire of the Vanities" and they are doing it because they can...and it likely comes from the top. As many have noted, Steve Jobs went to his deathbed ranting against Android and was doing the same with Windows decades before. Whether he was right or wrong is a good debate. 

    I really do think 95% plus of customers are going to buy the tools - or toys - that do the job for the best value. Only a select few of us are going to weigh the perceived morality of corporations. If we do that...we'd have to say that Intel (financiers of Yuneec) are fairly ruthless themselves and very close to being a monopoly. Here are the top receivers of Patents in the USA - dollars to donuts most of us use their product and don't follow their IP lawsuits:

    1. IBM, headquartered in Armonk, New York
    2. Samsung Electronics Co., headquartered in Suwon, Korea
    3. Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan
    5. GOOGLE, INC.
    6. Toshiba Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan
    7. Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan
    8. LG ELECTRONICS INC., headquartered in Seoul, Korea
    9. Intel Corporation, headquartered in Santa Clara, California
    10. Microsoft Corporation, headquartered in Redmond, Washington
    The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York,…
  • The best thing that could come out of this is just what Gary said, more exposure for Yuneec.  It is most obvious that DJI feels genuinely threatened by Yuneec, and is willing to resort to petty underhanded tactics such as this to protect their market share.  While I have setup a lot of DJI hardware for people in the past, I will never own or use any of their products for personal use.  I think many here knew it wouldn't be long before DJI filed suit against someone claiming preexisting technology as their own.  It's anyone's guess how this will turn out given our US patent system is "jank" anyway.  

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