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

Views: 2933

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on April 2, 2016 at 2:09am

BTW, the above patent claim has a priority date of July 2014.  Airborne camera tracking technology has been around for much longer than that!

Comment by Damian on April 2, 2016 at 2:37am

Interestingly I was told if your invention is relatively well described even in a Sci-Fi movie it is considered as the "prior art". 

So this should cover well the image tracking ... 

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on April 2, 2016 at 3:42am

Then this movie "Defense Play (1988)" should cover most of this.

The concept of a small remote UAS is not something new. Stuff just tend to get reinvented every generation.

Comment by Roberto Navoni on April 2, 2016 at 6:12am

My opinion is that DJI try to do patent trolling to modify the future of this market that is inacetable .By our community and our opensource project !!! Ask to DJI to show its source code because my opinion is that a lot of our code is inside its code ... we work a lot on follow me and only now DJI start to have this functionality available on DJI PH3 e PH4 ... 

Comment by Gary McCray on April 2, 2016 at 9:22am

It will be interesting to see what sort of arrangement DJI and 3DR come to in this regard.

As Roberto says above, follow me has been in use by us and others in Open source way before DJI "Invented" it.

We had an article in here 5 years ago from a Russian guy demonstrating visual face recognition and tracking in a park in Moscow.

I believe the overreaching claims in DJI's patent are very likely to be overturned based on prior art.

As for the mobile platform issue, it looks a lot like Apples attempt to patent a rectangle with rounded corners for a cell phone.

Another patent that tries to obfuscate the difference between a very specific mechanism and a patent in principal (which the tracking patent also does).

Comment by Roberto Navoni on April 2, 2016 at 10:01am

How is possible produce all this information to patent office in USA for invalidated this Patent ? 

@Craig  Dronecode and Linux foundation could help us on it  ?

Comment by Gary Mortimer on April 2, 2016 at 10:01am

@Roberto its not code from here but another OS autopilot ;-)

I think DJI have done a magnificent job of promoting Yuneec to Phantom owners that have never heard of them.

Comment by Craig Issod on April 2, 2016 at 10:12am

Who knows how it will all flush out?

I think 3DR has their hands full and can't be using loans or VC money to fight legal battles.

Dronecode? I guess it's possible, but most people run away from legal entanglements rather than towards them.

I don't think the injunction will be granted - and, if not, the whole thing doesn't mean much until a judge/jury/master says it does.

As far as promoting Yuneec, I think that's a double edged sword. More people are also being informed - by these and other conversations, of FUD when it comes to Yuneec. You can't win!

DJI should get over it. It would be one thing if they didn't have stuff to sell which was leading the pack....but trying to squash the only slight competition they have doesn't look good. That lawsuit looks like it was written in an evening by a social media expert! It refers to what many "regulars" said or say on social media or blogs. It contains errors such as seeming to state that Yuneec just came upon R/C in 2014 (didn't they make Horizon stuff for years?).

I'm not excited about the H due to the camera. But that's besides the point. 

In the end I wonder if this is just of inside to those of us who are "insider baseball" (for those in other countries, that means who care about the details that the average person doesn't care about or see). 

Comment by Todd Hill on April 2, 2016 at 10:20am

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.  

Comment by Craig Issod on April 2, 2016 at 10:37am

@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
  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


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