Friday, January 8, 2016
Raid at CES: Chinese Hoverboard Maker Targeted
LAS VEGAS–Federal marshals raided the Consumer Electronics Show booth of a Chinese hoverboard maker, responding to allegations by a U.S. company that its product was illegally copied.
Future Motion Inc., maker of a device called OneWheel, on Tuesday filed a patent infringement suit against Changzhou First International Trade Co. in federal court in Las Vegas. The company won an emergency temporary restraining order, leading the U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday to seize merchandise Changzhou was displaying at its CES booth.
Kyle Doerksen, Future Motion’s chief executive and chief engineer, said Changzhou was selling a blatant knock-off of the Onewheel hoverboard. The product was unveiled at CES in 2014.
“That is very damaging,” Mr. Doerksen said. “It creates confusion around who are the innovators, who are the trustworthy sources.”
Future Motion, based in Santa Cruz, Calif., builds Onewheel in California to “very high quality standards,” Mr. Doerksen said. The quality of Changzhou’s product is suspect, he added.
Changzhou representatives could not be reached for content.
The U.S. Product Safety Commission has been investigating reports of some hoverboard batteries catching fire.
Shawn Kolitch, an attorney representing Future Motion, said it is somewhat unusual to convince federal authorities to launch a raid at CES, but not unprecedented. “It does take a pretty clear case of infringement,” he said.