Chinese hoverboard maker sued over patent

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco (China Daily USA)     Updated : 2016-01-12

A patent infringement case over a hoverboard has been thrown into the spotlight following a US federal marshals raid on a Chinese company's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan 7.

The marshals confiscated the products on display, as well as signs and fliers promoting the products from Changzhou First International Trade Co, because it is accused of infringing on two US patents issued to Future Motion Inc, a Santa Cruz, California-based startup, in Aug 2015 and Jan 2016.

Future Motion filed a patent infringement action and an emergency motion for injunctive relief in US District Court in Nevada on Jan 5, a day before the CES started. It obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the exhibition of the allegedly infringing products at CES.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, but it might be delayed so the defendant's lawyer has more time to study the case, according to Shawn Kolitch, an attorney representing Future Motion.

"Future Motion believes strongly in intellectual property rights. They believe they invented this product and even this category of the products, and they are planning to continue to enforce their rights aggressively when they need to do that," Kolitch told China Daily by phone.

The "Onewheel" skateboard by Future Motion is a self-balancing electric vehicle comprised of a board and wheel, and a motor controller configured to receive orientation information from sensors. It sells for $1,499 on the company's website.

The "Surfing Electric Scooter" produced by Changzhou First International Trade looks similar to Onewheel and sells for $550 on Alibaba.

"We have information from their Alibaba website that the defendant has sold at least $75,000 worth of the infringing units," said Kolitch,

According to the complaint, Future Motion demands Changzhou deliver all the articles and associated packaging and advertisements for destruction, and pay the damages that it has suffered as well as the total profits Changzhou has received from the sale of the infringing products.

Kolitch said they couldn't determine the damages because they won't know how many of the units the defendant had sold until more information is obtained about the defendant's activities.

Changzhou First International Trade Co could not be reached for comment.


Santa Cruz-California-based Future Motion Inc's Onewheel is at the center of a patent infringement case involving Chinese company Changzhou First International Trade Co, which displayed a very similar product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan 7. Provided to China Daily