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Banning Hoverboards

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The ITC issued a general exclusion order banning various types of the self-balancing devices, often called “hoverboards.” The case could affect the whole market, since a general exclusion order is the commission’s most powerful remedy and can affect even parties not involved in the investigation. The general ban applies to any device infringing US Patent No. 8,830,048, which could be many products. The first claim of that patent describes a transporter with a drive, wheels, a “sensor for sensing the pitch of the user support,” “yaw input,” and a “control loop” for determining torque. Claim 2, also included in the exclusion order, describes the same thing, where the “user support” includes a handlebar.

Segway’s complaint names 13 different companies. Five companies had their cases terminated by reaching settlements or consent orders with Segway. The companies that cut a deal are Ninebot, Robstep, Shenzhen Inmotion, Tech in the City, and FreeGo USA. Meanwhile, UPTECH, UP Technology, UP Robotics, FreeGo China, and EcoBoomer all defaulted and are subject to the order. Only one company, Roboscooters, defended itself but lost its case. (The Commission’s Office of Unfair Import Investigations was also named as a party, which is supposed to represent the public.)



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