Future Motion accused a Chinese manufacturer of stealing the design of their new One-Wheel product.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – There is no place for boredom in the world of technology, as U.S. marshals intervene at CES over patent dispute. The raided booth was owned by a Chinese company that produce a product similar to the One-Wheel developed by a Californian manufacturer.
The product that was the source of all the trouble is a type of single wheel hovercraft. Incidentally, the Californian manufacturer that filed the complained is the same one that created the, now very famous, hover board with wheels. The product did not gain its fame only for its applications, but also for the fact that it tended to catch on fire when recharging.
The One-Wheel operates basically in the same principle as the Hovercraft, the major difference being the number of wheels that the device is equipped with. It has a motor embedded in the single wheel, a gyroscope and sensors. The vehicle basically senses the one that operates it and moves accordingly.
The device can operate individually for up to one hour, after that, it only needs 20 minutes to recharge. The design is also fairly interesting, the single thick wheel being surrounded by a plaque on which the driver rests his feet.
Users have compared the sensation that the One-Wheel gives to that of snowboarding, or surfing. It can also be used on off road, a feature that no other similar product has offered until now. The price is listed on the official page of the company and it starts at $1500.
The marshals’ visit was generated by the fact that the Chinese developers Changzhou were advertising a product named “Electric Scooter Surfing”. The design and features were almost identical to those of the One-Weel, including some specially incorporated elements like the set of colorful lights meant to signal the direction in which the user was going.
Future Motion, the manufacturer of the One-Wheel, declared that the Chinese company was wrong not only to steal their design, but potential customers could have been harmed due to the fact that the replica was built at a third the cost of the original. This means cheap materials and no previous quality testing.
Apparently it is not that uncommon that U.S. marshals intervene at CES over patent dispute, due to the fact that the participants are of various backgrounds. There aren’t only big companies there. One could also find technological savvy individuals that do not affiliate with a big company but tend to their inventions in the privacy of their own homes, or laboratories. This makes it almost impossible for CES to come up with regulations on patented-only products.
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