Controversy has sparked up at CES as one booth was shut down and had its exhibition hoverboard-like products confiscated by federal marshals.
The so-called ‘hoverboard’ craze hasn’t had a smooth take off, with products exploding, setting fires and being recalled across the globe. It has managed to persist, despite the setbacks and bad press. Now, a Chinese company who had allegedly stolen and copied the design of a rival hoverboard manufacturer will have to defend their design in court.
Changzhou First International was exhibiting its electronic skateboard, the Trotter, at the show; a see-saw based design with one large wheel in the middle, as opposed to the dual wheel boards that have been so popular.
However, the see-saw design is supposedly encroaching on the patent of a device designed by American company Future Motion, called Onewheel.
Onewheel was designed by Kyle Doersken, who began patenting the device years ago. For its part, Changzhou First International apparently claimed that it had designed their product a while ago, but had been sitting on it, waiting to unveil the gadget.
Doersken and Future Motion went through the official channels, asking Changzhou First to stop displaying their product at CES, but when they got nowhere, went on to file a patent complaint.
This highlights ongoing issues with companies selling cheaper versions of products that are already on the market at CES, such as the “knock off” version of the Onewheel.
“Knock offs often don’t have the same level of engineering effort put into them. Many times the companies that make them don’t really understand what they’re building. And so, that’s very damaging to the market as a whole,” said Kyle Doersken.
The Changzhou First International’s booth was taken down, and all the products they had to sell were confiscated, as were their signs.
The result of the case could well be that Chanzhou is banned from selling the product in the USA, they may end up having to pay monetary damages, coverage of lost profits, and even the cost of the court if they are found to be seriously at fault, according to Future Motion’s lawyer.
The fact that this case involves hoverboard-like products helps to make it a more significant case. Many Universities and other institutes within the USA have banned the use of the boards because of the dangers they possess, in terms of fires from batteries and from riders losing control.