Bedford, NH – Segway Inc. has filed a major patent case against imports of personal transporters from a number of Chinese companies in Beijing and Shenzhen.
The company is alleging that the personal transporters from China “infringe its utility and design patents” in a complaint that could, according to one source, lead the International Trade Commission (ITC) to issue a ‘general exclusion order,’ prohibiting not only all personal transporters from China, but from any country, as well.
“This patent case will be a very visible high tech case brought by Segway against Chinese imports of Segway like personal transporters,” said William Perry, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney.
The company “is also asking the ITC to issue cease and desist orders to prohibit US importers from selling any infringing imports that they brought into the United States,” he said.
Segway is requesting a general exclusion order to exclude all personal transporters from China and other countries and also ‘cease and desist’ orders to stop importers from selling infringing personal transporters in their inventories.
The complaint filed with the ITC lists at least six manufacturers and three distributors that Segway claims are infringing two patents related to the transporter controls, and two for the design of the machines.
The manufacturers named, the complaint says, “intend their products to largely, if not completely, mimic Segway’s personal transporters in operation.”
The manufacturers named in the complaint include Shenzhen Inmotion Technologies Co., Robstep Robot Co. and Ninebot Inc., all of which claim they independently developed their own ‘self-balancing’ transporters without benefit of Segway’s patented technology.
Should Segway win the case, the government could block the competing products made overseas from the US market.
US inventor Dean Kamen introduced the Segway in 2001. His company was eventually acquired by Summit Strategic Investments in 2013.