There were suspicions that a large U.S. company copied key technologies developed by a South Korean drone startup and applied them to its products, the Maeil Business News Korea reported on Jan. 27.
Staff of This Is Engineering (TIE), which has been developing future drone called “Person Air Vehicle (PAV)” early this year, were surprised when they participated in “CES 2020,” which is the world’s largest information technology and home appliance fair, held in Las Vegas.
This is because new prototype of PAV ‘Nexus’, which was unveiled at CES this year by U.S. helicopter manufacturer Bell, was so similar to the design of personal aircraft that was announced by TIE at CES last year.
“Comson,” which was unveiled by TIE a year ago, is equipped with a streamlined head and four rotors. It also features “tilting” function, which allows a rotor that is mounted horizontally with the ground to help take off, but is tilted at 90 degrees when flying. TIE has applied for a local patent for such a design.
On the other hand, Bell’s personal flying vehicle called Nexus, which was unveiled last year, had only six rotors and had no streamlined hair and tilt function. Bell’s new Nexus prototype, however, unveiled earlier this year, a year after TIE unveiled the Comson, has four rotors and a streamlined head with tilt capabilities.
TIE argued that when comparing the flight vehicle disclosed by Bell with its product, not only the overall design of the vehicle but also details such as the front window and color of the vehicle were found to be similar.
Last year, TIE unveiled the design and concept of Comson at CES. This is why they are preparing to take a legal action, believing that it was likely stolen as it was.
"It is estimated that Bell employees took pictures of PAV at our booth last year and made significant changes to the design at this year's CES and submitted them," said an official at TIE.
"In the past, Chinese companies copied our products, but now even U.S. companies are showing such moves," said Kim Young-doo, a representative patent attorney for InvenSync, a patent company, in an interview with Maeil Business News.