There have recently been media reports about Nordic Unmanned’s legal action against Irish drone company Manna Drone Delivery for patent infringements. The following statement presents the background.
The patent in question was awarded to Burkhard Wiggerich, the founder of AirRobot, a company which Nordic Unmanned acquired in the fall of 2021. The patent specifically covers coaxial configurations on unmanned aerial vehicles with at least three drive units. Coaxial means that rotors are mounted on the same axis but rotate in oppositive directions.
A patent description can be found by searching for EU patent number EP2035276B1 and US patent number US8328128. Both the EU and US patent applications were filed in 2007. After a thorough process, the EU patent was granted in 2011, while the US patent was granted in 2012. The patent has been covered in trade media, such as UAS Vision, where it was duly discussed.
Shortly after the AirRobot acquisition, Nordic Unmanned contacted companies appearing to infringe on the patent. There are several ongoing dialogues based on this.
“We believe the patent protection is solid. Over the years, both AirRobot and Nordic Unmanned have entered into various licensing agreements and settlements with companies related to this patent. We have so far not been able to agree on a commercial solution with Manna, so we were forced to pursue legal avenues and to issue proceedings to protect our position before the Court. Both parties have agreed to engage in mediation for the purpose of trying to resolve the dispute,” says Thomas A. Ladsten, CLO of Nordic Unmanned.
“We prefer constructive dialogue to legal processes. We will also explore the potential for free licenses for educational and non-commercial purposes as well as for start-ups and welcome dialogue from such parties. However, we will not let commercial companies ignore a valid patent that has been openly available for anyone to see, that has been the topic of online forum discussion, and that Mr Wiggerich historically has made media comments about,” Mr Ladsten adds.
Thomas A. Ladsten, CLO, email@example.com
Knut Ror Wiig, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Nordic Unmanned
Nordic Unmanned is global leader of high-end products and services related to drones and data capture. Through world-wide operational experience and industry leading expertise, Nordic Unmanned supports large governmental and industrial clients in the adaption of unmanned systems and services.
Founded in 2014, the Group has offices in Sandnes, Oslo, Molde, Odense (DK), Cranfield (UK) and Arnsberg (GER) and has quickly become one of Europe’s leading providers of unmanned systems and services, with operations across the continent. The Group is ISO 9001-2015 and certified by for the operation, maintenance, sale, design, development, and production, with of unmanned systems and sensor technology. and sensor technology. The production is also AS9100 certified.
Founded in 2005, AirRobot is a true pioneer in the European drone industry. The company is a long-standing supplier for the German armed forces (“Bundeswehr”) of both drone systems and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (“MRO”) services since 2005.
During the past years, the company has invested heavily in next-generation drones. The company holds ISO 9001 and DIN EN 9100 certification as a drone developer and manufacturer and is fully certified to deliver to German and other NATO forces.