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Autel Robotics Co. Escalates Dispute with Largest Manufacturer of Hobbyist and Commercial Drones, SZ DJI Technology Co. (of China)

November 14, 2018
Post by Gregory "Lars" Gunnerson

SZ DJI Technology Co. could lose access to the U.S. market in a patent-infringement lawsuit with Autel Robotics Co. where Autel asserts SZ DJI infringes U.S. Patent Nos.7,979,174 and 9,260,184, which cover rotor attachment and speed changes, and SZ DJI asserts Autel infringes at least U.S. Patent Nos.9,016,617; 9,284,049; 9,321,530; D691,514;9,284,040 and 9,592,744, which cover things like drone design, rotors, batteries and the location of a magnetometer for drones. Autel recently escalated the situation by filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, a U.S. trade agency dedicated to preventing unfair trade practices, such as subsidies, dumping, patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.

The International Trade Commission is able to more quickly issue an import ban if it find products infringe U.S. patents than a U.S. District Court, provided the patent infringement lawsuit is not on a "fast track," or some sort of special expedited review.

In this case, if the U.S. trade agency agrees to launch an investigation it could take the agency approximately 5 to 18 months to issue a final decision. If it issues an import ban, the agency could still allow sales to continue for public interests like agricultural needs, but hobbyists dedicated to SZ DJI products are most likely out of luck.

Gregory “Lars” Gunnerson is a Patent Attorney in the Mechanical and Electrical Patent Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit www.ipmvs.com or contact Lars directly via email at gregory.gunnerson@ipmvs.com.


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