Cell Phone Controlled Drone Maker Sues Rival for Patent Infringement
Los Angeles – Drone Technologies, Inc., a Taiwanese company that specializes in the manufacture of remote controlled drone devices is taking Parrot Inc. to court for allegedly infringing on some of its patents. After squabbling back and forth about the alleged infringement since 2012, Drone Technologies has decided to file a formal complaint in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.
According to the lawsuit, the company made Parrot aware of the infringement over two years ago. Specifically, it claims that two of its patents, which surround the use of magnetometers and accelerometers in smartphones to control drones, were infringed upon by Parrot’s FreeFlight App. Parrot, which sells toy drones, encouraged users to download the application to use their phones and tablets to control the movements of their toys.
When it brought the infringement to Parrot’s attention, Drone Technologies claims that Parrot recognized the issue and made a temporary attempt to eliminate the infringement by modifying its application to use technology other than magnetometers and accelerometers to navigate the drones. Once Parrot drone users started complaining that the new app did not work, however, Parrot went back to using the magnetometers and accelerometers, thereby again infringing on Drone Technologies’ patents. Now Drone Technologies is demanding an injunction preventing Parrot from using the technology at issue, as well as compensatory damages resulting from the infringement.
Parrot has yet to issue a response of any kind to the pending case. The French-based company, which was launched in 1994, has seen a swath of recent success, most notably with its popular AR.Drone 2.0. It is estimated that since the original AR.Drone was released, over 500,000 have been sold, making it the post popular toy drone ever. Its success has been much attributed to its ease of flight and sleek design. Though with a price tag starting at $200, the toys are an expensive hobby.
In addition to its best selling, lightweight toy drone, Parrot sells an array of other innovative devices, most of which are controlled by Parrot-created smartphone and tablet apps. Some of Parrot’s best known products outside of the drone market are headphones, stereos and GPS devices.