More hoverboard controversy as CES stand raided by US marshals
US marshals raided a hoverboard firm’s stand at the world’s biggest technology show the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Officials swooped on the booth on the second day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, seizing all of the boards brought into the US by Changzhou First International Trade.
It came after a Silicon Valley start-up company, Future Motion, filed a claim that their patent had been infringed by Changzhou. The case is due to be heard in court next week.
There are many of the self-balancing boards on display at CES, but the ones on the Chinese company’s stall appeared unique as they balance on a central wheel, as opposed to having a wheel at either end like most of the controversial devices.
The design is similar to the Onewheel created by Future Motion, which incorporates a computer-controlled system of sensors to maintain the board’s balance.
Changzhou is selling the device online for £375, about a third of the price of the Onewheel. There are two patents under investigation. The first, for the self-stabilising technology, was filed in 2014 while a second, for its design, was filed this month.
Future Motion’s founder Kyle Doerksen told the BBC: “We have design and utility patents that cover our invention. “When we got word that a company was exhibiting a knock-off product, we engaged in the formal process, which involved sending a cease and desist letter and then getting a restraining order, which was then enforced by the US marshals.
“As a company who launched ourselves at CES two years ago, we know that the world is watching.”
A US Department of Justice spokeswoman said: “A court order has been served in a civil case involving private litigation.” Changzhou declined to comment.
Hoverboards, in huge demand over Christmas, have become a regular sight on London’s streets despite warnings from the Met that they are illegal to ride in public.
London’s first mugging for a hoverboard took place in September, while last month Britain’s first hoverboard shoplifter, Omaree Lindsay, was spared jail after he appeared in court for using the device to steal a crate of Lucozade from a Co-op store.