Can OneWheel Avoid the Same Fate as the Hoverboard?

The makers of the OneWheel says its technology enables it to ride much more smoothly than a skateboard. (Courtesy of Future Motion)
The makers of the OneWheel says its technology enables it to ride much more smoothly than a skateboard. (Courtesy of Future Motion)

It’s not often that a company suspected of producing knockoffs is effectively put on notice, but that happened at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 7.

U.S. Federal Marshals rocked up to the CES, and confiscated self-balancing electric skateboards being promoted by a Chinese company called Changzhou First International Trade Co., Ltd.

According to Bloomberg Business the marshals not only took possession of the one-wheeled skateboards, but they pulled down the company’s promotional posters as well.

The Chinese company have been accused by a Californian company, Future Motion, of infringing on the patent of their OneWheel self-balancing electric skateboard.

Watch the OneWheel in action here:

Future Motion says the Chinese product is just a cheaper copy of its own design, which they had shown at the same convention in 2014.

“We have patents both in the U.S. and internationally on both the design and the function of OneWheel, so we engaged our IP lawyers because we heard that there were going to be knockoffs of the OneWheel product appearing at CES,” said Kyle Doerksen, the founder and CEO of Future Motion, in the video below.

“So we went through the formal U.S. legal process to get a temporary restraining order against one of these companies that’s trying to sell a knockoff product in the States for the first time,” said Doerksen.

Watch the Bloomberg Business video about the confiscation of the OneWheel knockoff here:

Last year cheap two-wheeled hoverboard knockoffs flooded the market while also raising safety concerns when reports started coming in of injuries, and some of the devices bursting into flames.

On top of that, Shane Chen, the man who created and patented the hoverboard, made no money from his invention because of knockoffs coming out of China.

Future Motion is adamant this is not going to happen with their product.

“Knockoffs often don’t have the same level of engineering effort put into them, many times the company making them don’t even understand what they are building, and that is very damaging to the market as a whole,” said Doerksen.

CNN says that Future Motion put in five years of work into creating OneWheel, which went on the market at the end of 2014. OneWheel is made in the U.S. and costs $1,500 a pop. Demand is high and there is currently a 4-week-wait.

Go on a tour of OneWheel’s factory in this TechCrunch video:

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