U.S. marshals raid Chinese hoverboard booth at CES on Thursday afternoon. Two U.S. federal marshals arrived at the Consumer Electronics Show to serve a court order. The crowd gathered as the marshals inventoried and packed the one-wheeled skateboard developed by Middle Kingdom company Changzhou First International Trade.
All of the banners, fliers, as well as signs that were promoting the product were carried away from the booth as the company’s staffers were looking stunned, and bewildered.
Until the federal marshals came to put a stop to the party, Changzhou First International Trade was having their most successful day. It wasn’t solely because their product was cheaper, but also because their design was catchy, and passersby were fancying it more than other hoverboards present at CES.
The Chinese-made Trotter resembles a seesaw with a rather big wheel stuck in the middle of the skateboard. This stirred a curiosity among CES attendants. People started asking about pricing, availability and build materials. Even though staffers knew little to no English, they tried their best to answer any question regarding their product.
As any other year, at CES, low-cost competitors, small-bore dealers, plenty from China, swamp the electronics event to showcase their products. Many of them look like something you would find in a bargain bin at Walmart, yet the Consumer Technology Association, which is the group that makes CES possible, doesn’t care as long as they pay the fees to have a booth during the event.
Being unoriginal isn’t against the rules.
However, there’s a yearly feud among companies and small-bore manufacturers, with the first believing that their trademarks and patents are being violated by these low-cost dealers. As to not overcrowd the floor with people causing a kerfuffle over who was first – the chicken or the robot chicken; CES’s legal department asks companies to not bring more than 2 employees, 1 translator, and 1 lawyer to the event.
Because of this, Future Motion, who thinks that the Chinese company downright stole their product, has appealed to the U.S. justice system. On Thursday, along with two federal marshals, north of a half a dozen people from Future Motion’s legal team were on the floor.
Future Motion says that it has invented and patented the rights to produce the exact self-balancing seesaw skateboard/hoverboard that Chingzhaou was showcasing at CES.
The Onewheel made by Future Motion has been developed by Kyle Doerksen, and when he saw the $500 a pop board sold by the Chinese-company, given that theirs goes for $1,500 a piece, he said that he immediately thought of it as a downright knock-off.
The lawyer for the company, Shawn Kolitch, has noted that they sent Changzhou First International Trade a letter back in December, demanding that they stopped selling the products, but never heard back. Future Motion even approached the booth directly just before the floor opened, but the impromptu meeting didn’t go anywhere.
Future Motion took it to the legal system and the rest is history.
The main issue, Kyle Doerksen notes, is that due to the faulty production of these knock-off hoverboards, many of them have caught on fire, and customers will perceive all of the products, even the high-quality ones as dangerous.
He continues to add that he doesn’t want to see someone poison to well. A well that he build by himself.
Yet, Kyle Doerksen isn’t the only one claiming to have been the inventor of the hoverboard. Shane Chen, a Chinese-American engineer, has disputed the claim and notes that he came up with the idea first-hand.
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