On May 18, 2016, Segway Inc. of Bedford, New Hampshire, DEKA Products Limited Partnership of Manchester, New Hampshire, and Ninebot (Tianjin) Technology Co., Ltd. of China (collectively, “Segway”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain personal transporters, components thereof, and packaging and manuals therefor that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,302,230 (the ‘230 patent), 6,651,763 (the ‘763 patent), 7,023,330 (the ‘330 patent), 7,275,607 (the ‘607 patent), 7,479,872 (the ‘872 patent), and 9,188,984 (the ‘984 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”) and/or infringe certain U.S. registered trademarks owned by Segway (collectively, the “asserted trademarks”):

  • Inventist, Inc. of Camas, Washington
  • PhunkeeDuck, Inc. of Floral Park, New York
  • Razor USA LLC of Cerritos, California
  • Swagway LLC of South Bend, Indiana
  • Segaway of Studio City, California
  • Jetson Electric Bikes LLC of New York, New York

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to Segway personal transporter devices. In particular, the ‘230 patent relates to a method and apparatus for balance control of the transporter; a platform which supports and propels the user in the desired direction using a ground-contacting module; and a motorized drive arrangement that is unstable when not powered and that automatically balances the platform when powered. The ‘763 patent relates to an apparatus comprising a ground-contacting module that supports a user, a motorized drive that propels the vehicle, a sensor for sensing a specified condition, and a controller that responds to the specified condition by modulating periods of speeding up and braking. The ‘330 patent relates to an alarm system comprising a sensor and a controller that causes a motorized drive to propel the vehicle. The ‘607 patent relates to a controller for a transporter that receives an input from the user of a desired yaw (or turning) direction and rate based on the body orientation of the user. The ‘872 patent relates to personal transporters that alert an operator of specified conditions by causing a perceptible shaking of the vehicle. The ‘984 patent relates to transporters and methods for limiting speed, where the transporter includes a motorized platform, sensors that sense the pitch of the platform and a controller that, based at least in part on the sensed pitch, sends a signal to the motorized drive arrangement to pitch the platform in the opposite direction if the transporter is traveling in a manner exceeding a threshold. Lastly, the asserted trademarks are directed to the SEGWAY mark.

In the complaint, Segway states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell products that infringe the asserted patents and asserted trademarks. The complaint specifically refers to Solowheel, Hovertrax, PhunkeeDuck, Swagway, Segaway, and Jetson personal transporters as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Segway states that its personal transporters practice the asserted patents and asserted trademarks. Segway further states that it engages in production, engineering, development, testing, marketing, distribution, customer service, repair, and warranty fulfillment in the U.S. concerning personal transporters and packaging and manuals therefor that employ and exploit the technology and designs covered by the asserted patents and that are sold, marketed, advertised, and/or promoted under the asserted trademarks. Segway specifically refers to its headquarters and manufacturing plant in New Hampshire in support of its domestic industry allegations.

As to related litigation, Segway states that the asserted patents are currently being asserted against some of the Proposed Respondents in pending litigations in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Segway further states that the ‘607 patent was previously asserted in ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-935. See our November 5, 2014 post for more details.

With respect to potential remedy, Segway requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order, a limited exclusion order, and permanent cease and desist orders directed at the Proposed Respondents. Segway states that a general exclusion order is warranted both to prevent circumvention of any exclusion order limited to products of named entities, and because there is a pattern of violation of Section 337 and it is difficult to identify the source of infringing products.