Steptoe announced last week that it had secured a significant victory for Autel Robotics at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). A judge found that DJI violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, by importing and selling drones that infringe US Patent No. 9, 260,184 belonging to Autel Robotics.
As a result, the following DJI drones may no longer be for sale at retailers in the U.S. as of July 2020:
Attentive readers will have noticed that there is one drone missing from the list, i.e. the just-released DJI Mavic Air 2.
The propeller patent case revolves around a design solution that prevents drone pilots from mounting a clockwise spinning propeller on a counter-clockwise spinning motor. The solution is simple, straightforward, and very practical, which is probably why DJI copied it in the first place.
The DJI Mavic Air 2, however, has a different propeller mounting system. One that allows the drone pilot to erroneously mount a clockwise spinning propeller on a counter-clockwise spinning motor. If you mount the props this way, the drone will flip over on take off. To prevent this from happening, DJI now warns drone pilots in the DJI Fly app when they start up the DJI Mavic Air 2.
Since the DJI Mavic Air 2 was developed and introduced well before the outcome of the patent fight had been announced, we can conclude that DJI knew it was going to lose that fight and in anticipation, the Chinese drone maker developed a less good propeller mounting system for their latest drone in the Mavic series.
The propeller mounting system on the DJI Mavic Air 2.
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