Hoverboard patent wars heat up as CHIC sues Swagway

Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology Co. Ltd, the company behind popular electronic vehicles brand Chic, is suing hoverboard maker Swagway, accusing its rival of patent infringement over self-balancing scooter technologies.

This is the second lawsuit Chic has filled against Swagway LLC, trading under name “Swagtron”, products. According to China-based company, Swagway LLC is repeatedly infringing two of its patents by making and selling its own self-balancing scooters.
The patents 9376155 and D737723 allegedly used by Swagway, were issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2015/2016.

swagway-hoverboard

Caption: ©Swagway, self balancing-scooter

In the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on August 19, Chic company says the hoverboard retailer Swagway used its proprietary technology in a number of products. In June 2016, Chic intercepted four containers of such products through the Customs. According to claimant, “the intercepted products bore the trademark “SWAGTRON” on both the scooters and the packages”.

Last year, Amazon removed all Swagway hoverbaords from its site, after company was identified as the brand of hoverboard that caught fire while charging in a Chappaqua, New York home.

In March 2016, The US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a general exclusion order banning several types of two-wheel electric scooters, colloquially referred to as a “hoverboard“, that infringe on Segway’s patents. The infringing products are banned from importation into the United States until the relevant patents expire.

Consequently, Segway, the world leader in electric personal transportation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Ninebot Limited (Ninebot), continues its promise to transform the “personal mobility space” since the launch of its first self-balancing scooter in 2001. It followed up in 2016 with the Segway miniPRO, and is planning to improve on it a year later with the Segway Robot.

In an odd reversal, Hangzhou Chic Intelligent Technology Co Ltd. (Chic), company which is suing Swagway for patent infringement, sells a product that looks very much like the Segway X2:

segway x2

Caption: ©Segway, model X2


chic-segway-clone

Caption: ©Chic,personal transporter looks very much like Segway X2

The China-based company calls it the Chic-Cross and claims “completely independent intellectual property rights.”

Chic vs. Swagway lawsuit adds to a growing number of legal battles between companies in the emerging personal transportation market, with each company claiming to be the “first” to make the device or claiming that they should be allowed to continue making their scooters because the patents at issue are too broad.

About the Author

Mantas Malukas
Hoverboard enthusiast, contributing writer for technology & design publications. Some of my work has been published on the likes of Huffington Post, CNET , Stylecaster and International Business Times. Follow me on Twitter @HercusMonte