Hoverboards, the hybrid skateboard/scooter personal transportation devices, have enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over the last year, with celebrities and professional athletes posting photographs of their hoverboards across social media.
However, there have been growing safety warnings related to hoverboards, with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission even labelling them “defective” in light of an “unreasonable risk of fire.”
This week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) moved to halt the import of all Hoverboards, which are primarily manufactured in China, but not due to concerns about the product’s safety. Instead, the ban was issued in connection with a patent complaint filed by New Hampshire-based Segway, Inc. claiming that hoverboards rely on balancing technology patented by Segway. According to the ITC ruling, multiple Chinese hoverboard manufacturers were found to have been infringing on one of Segway’s 400 patents related to their proprietary balancing technology.
The ITC ruling also provides that any company still wishing to import their hoverboards will have to post a bond equal to each hoverboard’s value pending a final determination by the panel. U.S. importer Ecoboomer was also prohibited from selling hoverboards that have already entered the country.