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

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Wild, Kaprizov agree to 5-year deal

The contract will keep the star forward in Minnesota through the 2025-26 season.

Dunn County WI homicide suspect

Charges: Man who killed 4 friends, drove bodies to WI said he 'snapped'

Charges filed Tuesday reveal more details about the grisly case.

Edison high school wikimedia commons

Mpls. school goes to distance learning after students exposed to COVID

In-person classes will resume next month, the district said.

Mike Zimmer

Does Mike Zimmer's coaching style mesh with the Vikings' strengths?

Time for Zimmer to put all of his faith in the offense and try to win shootouts?

gray wolf

6 Wisconsin tribes sue to end upcoming wolf hunt

They cite treaty rights and a "disastrous February hunt."

St Paul Grill steak facebook

St. Paul Grill, closed since March 2020, announces reopening date

The dining room will open to all visitors again next month.

police lights

Charges: Man fled police at 127 mph, caused crash that injured officer

The Sept. 16 incident led to a police chase going the wrong way on Hwy. 169 near St. Peter.

Bar beer

3 Minnesota teens 'pistol whipped' at bar in Sioux Falls

Police are investigating the incident, including why the teens were at the bar.

Ben Simmons

The latest Ben Simmons drama 1 week from the start of training camp

Training camp opens Sept. 28, at which point things could get really crazy.

court gavel

Judge finds man guilty in Hibbing Christmas Day murder

Jerome Spann fatally shot Jeryel McBeth on Christmas Day 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.

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

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.

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.