Marshals raid company’s booth at exhibition in hoverboard patent dispute

Federal marshals have confiscated a hoverboard after raiding a company’s booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The two law officials walked into the exhibition centre and took away the one-wheeled board and took down the signs from Chinese manufacturer Changzhou First International Trade’s stand. They were acting in a patent dispute after Future Motion, a Silicon Valley start-up claimed it had invented a self-balancing electric skateboard strikingly similar to the ones on sale at the show. The justice service in the US said it was carrying out a court order but it was the first time it had done so at a trade show.

We knew that this was a situation where they could do real damage to our business if we just allowed them to violate our patents.

Future Motion’s founder Kyle Doerksen

While there are many companies exhibiting hoverboards at CES, the Chinese company’s Surfing Electric Scooters have a single central wheel rather than one at each end. It is similar to Future Motion’s Onewheel vehicle, which uses sensors and computer controls to keep it balanced. "We have design and utility patents that cover our invention,“ said Future Motion’s founder Kyle Doerksen. "When we got word that a company was exhibiting a knock-off product, we engaged in the formal process, which involved sending a cease and desist letter and then getting a restraining order, which was then enforced by the US marshals.