Robotic Birds in The Sky

KASS International Sdn. Bhd. Malaysia

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, are at the frontier of emerging technologies. While drones are most commonly known for their innovation within the intelligence, surveillance, and entertainment spheres, they are capable of so much more.


In 2016 and 2017 there was a surge in drone related patents being filed. 5,301 patents were filed for drones in fields such as photography, mapping, and agriculture. The purpose of having IP rights in drones is to legally protect new, inventive, and useful inventions from others using, selling, or manufacturing the invention without permission. This can be done by firstly, filing for a patent to protect the way the drone functions, the specific software or method of the drone technology. Secondly, you can file for a design patent that protects the overall visual appearance of the product in a physical or tangible form.



DJI is one of the world’s leading drone manufacturers. Based in China, it holds the largest number of drone related patents. For example, DJI holds a patent for an agriculture spraying drone. Called the AGRAS drones, they offer farmers the technology to be able to effectively and efficiently spread and spray pesticides, seeds, fertilizers etc. on their crops and land.




Amazon is another large company that holds many drone-related patents. Perhaps the most famous is the “Prime Air” drone delivery service which was announced in 2013. This allows for smaller packages to be sent via drones to customers in 30 minutes or under. The drone has cameras and sensors that allow it to detect hazards such as utility wires and avoid other flying objects or causing harm to animals or humans on the ground. The drones are further programmed to respond and adjust flight operations based on both audible and visual human gestures, as seen in the patent illustration above where an unwelcoming gesture is depicted.


2020 Design Patent for ‘Amazon Air’ Drone


In 2014, Amazon filed a patent in the US for a blimp to act as a flying fulfilment centre. The blimp would function as a floating warehouse where drones would fly out to drop off and pick up packages.




On one hand, the thought of having these robots roaming the skies completing day-to-day tasks such as walking your dog, delivering your packages, and even harvesting your fruit and vegetables is overwhelming and quite frankly sounds like something out of a futuristic alien movie. On the other hand, these innovations in the drone industry can provide many benefits to human safety, emergency responses and policing. For example:


  • The Prophet by Marius Kindler: A drone with thermal imaging designed to help firefighters and other first responders effectively locate fires within buildings.


  • The Life Drone by Hyunjun Choi: A drone with an inflatable raft attached to it designed to rescue people drowning or lost at sea.  


  • The Avalanche Rescue Drone by Bluebird Mountain: A drone that accurately and efficiently locates skiers who are trapped underneath the snow, allowing rescue services to find and rescue the trapped people. 


Most recently, drones have been used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the Drobo robot that was designed by Nuone Design in Milan. Drobo is a solar panelled robot that deploys a drone to deliver medical supplies straight to people’s homes. This technology is essential in today’s environment where many people are unable to leave their homes to access medicine due to being sick or in isolation.


The protection of design and patent rights are important in this field as it acts as an incentive for investment and fosters the diffusion of new UAVs which benefit society. As the world changes, new drone technologies need to be invented and adapted to new circumstances to help improve the efficiency, safety, and wellbeing of society.

KASS International Sdn. Bhd.

About the Firm

KASS International Sdn. Bhd.

AddressSuite 8-13A-2, Menara Mutiara Bangsar, Jalan Liku, Off Jalan Riong, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel60-3-2284 7872
Contact PersonDiana Lourds

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