Korean startup claims its air taxi design is copied by US Bell

2020.01.28 14:00:31 | 2020.01.28 14:00:59

[Photo provided by TIE]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by TIE]

A Korean drone startup is readying legal action against American aircraft heavyweight Bell by accusing it of illicitly copying its key design features of an electric personal air vehicle (PAV).

This Is Engineering (TIE) argues Bell’s new four-duct vehicle Bell Nexus released at the CES 2020 trade show looked identical to its own design concept unveiled at the same exhibition last year.

A TIE official said Bell workers came to the TIE booth and took photos of TIE’s PAV last year.

TIE’s model released a year ago features a sleek cabin and four rotors which can be titled vertically after a horizontal lift from the ground. This design feature is patented in Korea.

Bell’s previous model has six rotors, but without a sleek cabin or tilting. TIE argues its design has been blatantly plagiarized by Bell as not only the overall vehicle design but the front-facing window, color and other details look similar.

TIE is preparing legal action over IP infringement.

TIE founded in 2016 drew attention for the development of a one-hand drone controlling system Shift Red. It has developed PAVs as its long-term business project. In 2018, the company attracted a total of 7 billion won ($6 million) from KDB and other local financial investors.

Global tech firms are waging a serious war in the budding personal air transportation industry and PAVs are emerging as promising new technology to address traffic congestion.

By Oh Dae-seok and Minu Kim

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]