Federal marshals raid CES booth over alleged patent violations

Imitation may be the sincerest form of chicanery, and perhaps trouble. A hoverboard company found this out at CES when it was apparently busted for an alleged knockoff design.

Several news outlets reported that two federal marshals seized a one-wheeled skateboard, a sign and fliers on display Thursday at Changzhou First International Trade Co.’s booth at CES.

The company’s Trotter hoverboard, Bloomberg News noted, looks like a seesaw with one big wheel in the middle, a product that looks remarkably like the Onewheel, a self-balancing electric skateboard made by Silicon Valley startup Future Motion. The California company told Bloomberg News it invented and patented the board.

“Knocking off an invention that is patented and carefully quality-controlled is a disservice and unsafe to consumers.” Future Motion CEO Kyle Doerksen told United Press International. “We will continue to vigorously defend our intellectual property rights around the world.”

Future Motion currently holds two patents on the design: the first for the underlying technology of the device was secured in August 2015, and the second patent for design was secured earlier this week, according to the Bloomberg report.

The company sent about a half-dozen people from its legal team to accompany the marshals in the raid, Bloomberg said. The Consumer Technology Association, which stages CES, declined to comment to the news agency.

CNBC said Future Motion obtained a temporary restraining order in federal court in Nevada against Changzhou. The case is set to return to court in a week, the BBC said.

The U.S. Marshals Service was contacted in regard to this story but had yet to respond with comment at the time of this writing.

— Find Matthew Crowley on Twitter @copjockey. Christian Bertolaccini contributed to this report.

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