U.S. Marshals raided a “hoverboard” booth at the Consumer Electronics show on Thursday afternoon. A crowd gathered around as two marshals packed up the hoverboard on display at a Chinese company’s booth. They also carried away a sign and fliers promoting the product.
Unfortunately for the company, this wasn’t the typical CES publicity stunt. Bloomberg News reports that Staffers for the company, Changzhou First International Trade Co., were stunned by the marshals appearance. Until then, the company was having a successful day.
Changzhou’s hoverboard looks more like a seesaw with one large wheel in the middle, rather than a board with a wheel on either end. While unoriginality isn’t against the rules at CES, patent violations are and it appears that the Chinese company violated patents of Future Motion, the startup that created the popular OneWheel hoverboard.
CNN Money reports that Future Motion founder and CEO Kyle Doerksen notified authorities of the copyright infringement. He filed a restraining order against the Chinese company in Nevada and it was granted on Thursday morning.
Doerkson patented some aspect of the OneWheel several years ago and received a patent for the board’s underlying technology in August. Earlier this week Future Motion received a second patent for the hoverboard’s design, prohibiting competitors from making a device that resembles the OneWheel.
Shawn Kolitch, a lawyer for Future Motion, commented, “Would we have done this without the design patent being issued? The answer is we wouldn’t have bothered.” Kolitch added, “If you can show the design patent drawing next to an accused product side by side, and they look identical, it helps your case.”
Koltich first sent a demand letter to Changzhou in December after a OneWheel user notified them of the similarity between the company’s design and Changzhou’s Trotter. Koltich confronted the Chinese company before the CES floor opened after he didn’t get a response. Finally, the lawyer for Future Motion filed a request with a judge Wednesday to stop the Trotters from being displayed on the sales floor.