Skip to main content

A MN company's suing to get Parrot drones off the shelves at Target, Best Buy

Here's why a MN company wants retailers to stop selling them.

A Twin Cities company is suing some of Minnesota's biggest retailers to keep them from selling drones made by one of the industry's biggest names. 

QFO Labs said Monday the lawsuit has to do with its patent infringement claims against the French company Parrot, Inc. They're asking a federal court in Minnesota to order Target, Best Buy, and Amazon to stop selling drones they say illegally use technology that QFO developed.

QFO says about a dozen models of Parrot drones use tilt-to-fly controls that the small Bloomington company patented more than 15 years ago.

According to QFO its inventors developed the system as a substitute for the joystick early in the last decade, years before other tilt-based controllers like the Nintendo Wii hit the market. 

"We’re a startup that’s not afraid to fight back against this big French company,” CEO Brad Pedersen said in QFO's statement. “We intend to defend the intellectual property we worked hard for years to develop and commercialize.”

Meanwhile Parrot, which is the world's second-largest maker of consumer drones, has asked both a federal court and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office to rule that its products do not violate QFO's patents, the Star Tribune reports

Lots of money at stake

Companies are ready to fight for their share of the drone industry because it's one of the hottest segments in consumer tech. 

The Consumer Technology Association says drones will be a popular Christmas gift and they're projecting sales in the fourth quarter will run 31 percent ahead of last year's pace, VentureBeat reports.

The research firm Gartner Inc. predicted early this year that the market for personal and commercial drones will reach $6 billion this year and will keep growing to more than $11 billion by 2020. 

In 2012 QFO Labs launched its own quadcopter drone after raising money through a Kickstarter campaign. But CEO Pedersen says they've now shifted their focus to licensing their tilt-to-fly technology to other companies.

Next Up

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.


7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

City of Minneapolis, Jaleel Stallings reach $1.5M settlement

Although a settlement was made, the city will not admit fault or take any responsibility for the incident as part of the agreement with Stallings.


2 rescued after kayaks capsize on Sauk River

Recent heavy rainfall produced a strong currents on the water.

covid 19 test

How to order 8 free at-home COVID-19 tests

A third round of free tests is now available from the U.S. government.


Three new Grandstand shows added for Minnesota State Fair 2022

The Beach Boys and Portugal. The Man are among several acts booked.

St. Louis County

St. Louis County set to declare state of emergency ahead of peak flood levels

Volunteers are urgently needed for sandbagging efforts in a small community near Voyageurs National Park.

Screen Shot 2022-05-16 at 5.03.30 PM

Brothers Bar & Grill closes in downtown Minneapolis

The Midwest chain closed its St. Cloud location in 2018.


Star Wars takes over Target, Best Buy on 'Force Friday'

Both retailers have exclusive deals this weekend.

Star Wars takes over Target, Best Buy on 'Force Friday'

Both retailers have exclusive deals this weekend.

Here are some of the best Black Friday gadget deals at Target, Best Buy and Walmart

We're only a couple weeks away from Black Friday and three major stores have released their deals for the busiest shopping day of the year.

Some of the best 2017 Cyber Monday deals from Target, Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart

Some of the highlights being offered by Target, Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart this year.

Could Best Buy be a good buy for Target?

Louis Johnston, chair of the Department of Economics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, says merging the two Minnesota-based companies could be a win-win for the state's economy. (Photo Courtesy: MinnPost illustration by Christopher Henderson)

Ever heard of the company that employs about one-third of a MN town?

Expanding company loves their northwestern MN workers

best buy

Best Buy confirms it has recently laid off 5,000 workers

The retailer has seen business boom since the pandemic started, particularly online.