U.S. Marshals raided a Chinese company at CES for selling a knockoff hoverboard

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Hoverboard Copyright Infringement at CES

A Chinese company at CES was raided by the U.S. Marshals on Thursday for producing and selling a knockoff of a patented single-wheeled electric skateboard.

Changzhou First International Trade's "Trotter" electric skateboard infringed on Future Motion's Onewheel design and technology, according Bloomberg. The Marshals confiscated all Trotter devices, promotional signage and fliers.

Kyle Doerksen, the creator of the Onewheel, said he made several attempts prior to the booth raid to get Changzhou First International Trade to cease and desist, but never heard back from them.

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U.S. Marshals raided a Chinese company at CES for selling a knockoff hoverboard
Attendees demonstrate the Royole-X foldable smart mobile theater device during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. CES is expected to bring a range of announcements from major names in tech showcasing new developments in virtual reality, self-driving cars, drones, wearables, and the Internet of Things. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The SensorWake olfactory alarm clock is displayed with scent cartridges at the CES 2016 consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 7, 2016. Capsules with scents such as coffee, croissants, toast, the ocean, or money are inserted in the alarm clock to wake a sleeping person. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
CES signage is seen outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, January 7, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the CES 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. AFP PHOTO / DAVID MCNEW / AFP / DAVID MCNEW (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06: A view inside the Whirlpool French Door Bottom Mount Refrigerator is shown at CES 2016 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The USD 3,799 connected, pantry-inspired refrigerator features a party mode for when you are having guests that makes ice and cools down quickly and the temperature for individual drawers can be adjusted using a Whirlpool app. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 9 and is expected to feature 3,600 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06: The Whirlpool French Door Bottom Mount Refrigerator is displayed at CES 2016 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The USD 3,799 connected, pantry-inspired refrigerator features a party mode for when you are having guests that makes ice and cools down quickly and the temperature for individual drawers can be adjusted using a Whirlpool app. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 9 and is expected to feature 3,600 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Exhibitors ride Razor Hovertrax Hover Boards during ShowStoppers at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. CES is expected to bring a range of announcements from major names in tech showcasing new developments in virtual reality, self-driving cars, drones, wearables, and the Internet of Things. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An exhibitor demonstrates the ZEISS VR ONE headset during ShowStoppers at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. CES is expected to bring a range of announcements from major names in tech showcasing new developments in virtual reality, self-driving cars, drones, wearables, and the Internet of Things. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Two SmartPlates by Fitly are displayed on the first day of CES 2016 Consumer Electronics Show on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The SmartPlate has digital cameras to help dieters take better control of their meals. The cameras use object recognition algorithms to identify the types of food placed in the plates sections and then searches an online database to grab calorie and nutrition data. Embedded load sensors enable the plate to weigh the food too and will send all the data to an accompanying app. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06: Polaroid's iZone mini Wi-Fi digital camera is displayed at CES 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 9 and is expected to feature 3,600 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 06: IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty delivers a keynote address at CES 2016 at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 9 and is expected to feature 3,600 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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The Trotter strongly resembles the Onewheel, but costs a fraction of the price: $500 versus $1,500.

"If you can show the design patent drawing next to an accused product side by side, and they look identical, it helps your case," Shawn Kolitch told Bloomberg. Kolitch said Future Motion wouldn't have moved forward with legal action if not for the patents it holds. The company holds two patents: one for the Onewheel's technology, issued last year, and one for its design, issued last week.

First Motion's legal action isn't merely a power play to stop lower-priced knockoffs from overtaking its business. Doerksen said it'll also protect the electric skateboard industry's reputation and send a message that quality (and safety) matters. "If customers start to view the space as full of low-quality, low-cost products, that reflects poorly on everybody."

In recent months, two-wheeled electric skateboards, better known as "hoverboards," have been called into question over safety concerns. There was an increase in hoverboard explosions during the holidays, as people found out their new personal electric skateboards were knockoffs with faulty batteries inside.

Doerksen and First Motion aren't the first ones to take legal action patent-infringing electric "rideables." In December, Razor sued Swagway for patent infringement. Similarly, Segway sued Inventist for more or less the same thing back in September. In other words, the entire hoverboard/electric skateboard industry is suing each other over patent violations.

The raid on Changzhou First International Trade's CES booth is just the beginning of an ugly war over hoverboard patents.

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