Segway Is Taking A Stand On Hoverboards (They Hate Them)

Segway Is Taking a Stand on Hoverboards (They Hate Them)

In September, Segway filed a lawsuit against Inventix for the not-Hoverboard, claiming a violation of their patents. On December 23, Segway filed two more suits, adding Razor and Swagway to the list. As before, Segway, its parent company Ninebot, and DEKA (which licenses its technology to the other two), are the plaintiffs. Only now, they're going after everyone they can find. "In September, we filed a lawsuit against Inventist for patent infringement," Brian Buccella, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Segway said in a press release. "This latest filing is a continuation of our commitment to vigorously protect our brand and products."

This commitment makes especially good sense when you look at a hoverboard brand like Swagway. It sounds a lot like Segway! "There is a tremendous amount of confusion in the market," Buccella added. "Consumers are under the impression that the self-balancing products that have recently flooded the market and have received negative media coverage are manufactured and sold by Segway. Our brand's renowned reputation for quality and safety must be protected."

The suit against Razor is fundamentally the same as the original suit against Inventix -- not so surprising, since Razor bought rights to Inventix's patent back in November. The major difference there is that the first suit claimed that Inventix's Hovertrax infringed on five patents. They're now claiming six.

The suit against Swagway takes issue with three patents and adds the additional wrinkle of a trademark infringement claim. Unsurprisingly, Segway's claiming that marketing a product under the "Swagway" name violates their trademarks on "Segway." Segway argues that "Swagway" causes confusion, making consumers confuse Swagway products with ones made by Segway. Swagway filed for a trademark on the name in July, but the Patent and Trademark Office refused it in November citing "a likelihood of confusion with the marks, SEGWAY." Which doesn't look great for Swagway.

Both complaints were filed on December 23 in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, with Segway asking for damages and an injunction prohibiting the sale and import of the offending products. It's unclear whether they will win on every count, but there's every chance Swagway is going to have to undergo a name change. At the very least.

Top image: Christopher Furlong/Getty



    Swagway. Wow. It's like everything wrong with these things in one neat, douchey package.

    It's amusing that Segway thinks (or pretends to think) that they are a relevant company that people actually think about anymore.

    Also: stop calling them hoverboards.

      Can we call them "NOVERBOARDS"????

      I really don't see how much people care about or consider Segway to be a relevant company has anything to do with their right to protect their IP and branding.

    My brother just had a Xiaomi Ninebot confiscated at Hong Kong airport by Qantas as "hover boards are banned on Qantas Flights" He tried explaining that the ones catching alight are the crappy knockoffs and the Xiaomi Ninebot is made by the same company as Segway and have the same chance of catching alight as his iPhone. No dice, had to leave it in Hong Kong.

    The quality units like the Xiaomi Ninebot are well engineered and are as similar to the swagway hover boards as eneloop batteries are similar to a sparkler.

      The limitations imposed by QANTAS are all about lithium batteries, and not about the quality of the devices they are used in.

    So does the parent company of SEGWAY actually make one of these contraptions.

    If So then they hate the ripoffs, not the genre itself.

    Research: The Xiaomi ninebot mini ( the closest thing to the recent fad item) still has a vertical control thing ( it goes between the knees, it seems), so the not-hovery things with independently articulated foot platforms are still a different animal. Seems DEKA Research and Development Corporation is doing a spot of aggravated patent trolling over some potentially expired patents.

    Priority date May 27, 1994 ( Expired)
    Self-balancing ladder and camera dolly
    US 6915878 B2
    Inventors Dean L. Kamen, John David Heinzmann
    Original Assignee Deka Products Limited Partnership
    A device and methods for supporting a payload, such as a user, at a variable height above the ground and for repositioning the payload in a dynamically stabilized mode of operation. The transporter device has two laterally disposed primary wheels and a payload support

    I know that there are many other patents which DK has filed over the years, improvements and innovations etc.. (every potential nut or bolt placement on all of the potential applications for this type of device seem to be patented)
    However a lot of developments are also in the public domain...

    DK is just sore that he doesn't own the patent for the present articulated footpad not-hover-y thing...

    Priority date Feb 12, 2012
    "Two-wheel, self-balancing vehicle with independently movable foot placement sections"
    US 8738278 B2 Also published as US20130238231
    Inventors: Shane Chen
    Original Assignee: Shane Chen

    Seems it is not only Dean Kamen who knows how to file a Patent.

    Anyhow, the one who pays the most Lawyers usually wins these arguments.

    Last edited 05/01/16 8:48 pm

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now