Archive for February, 2016

Segway patent protection in New Zealand

Today Segway New Zealand repeats our warning to both importers and sellers of non-Segway self-balancing devices. Such machines likely infringe multiple patents controlled by Segway, Inc.

Our previous warning to New Zealand businesses can be found here.

In 2015 Segway, Inc. launched legal action in USA against manufacturers and importers of:

  • “hoverboards”
  • electric unicycles
  • self-balancing personal transporters

 

Segway vs Inventist

Segway Personal Transporter vs Solowheel and Hovertrax

We predict lawsuits will likely be filed against more parties during 2016. Every local importer and local reseller of self-balancing personal transporters, electric unicycles and “hoverboards” is exposed to risk from a range of legal actions, all with serious consequences.

In addition to patent infringement, we have collected evidence that several New Zealand resellers are engaging in:

  • wilful infringement of the ‘Segway’ trademark, thereby damaging the value of the brand.
  • misleading and deceptive advertising practices with respect to the identity of the actual manufacturer (with implication that the product is a genuine ‘Segway’device when this is not the case); knowingly making dangerous and incorrect claims about product safety (often around the absence of redundant sub-systems, and the directly associated risk to riders); misinformation about the particular Lithium battery chemistry used, and subsequent safety and risk to owners; (outrageous) claims about range-per-charge, hill climbing (grade) capabilities, and the various other specifications.
  • “passing off” under New Zealand’s common law.
  • Copyright infringement

Segway New Zealand’s advice to importers and sellers of infringing products is to immediately ease and desist if they wish to minimise damages. Further, they are advised to contact every customer and offer a full refund.

Local buyers of infringing products could discover they have purchased a non-Segway device for which support, parts and repairs are not unavailable. What use is a machine that can’t be repaired, or for which replacement battery packs cannot be purchased?

The first patent protecting ‘Segway’ inventions was filed in New Zealand more than 15 years ago, and numerous patents have been filed since.

 

Some Personal Transporters

Some drawings from ‘Segway’ patents filed from 1999 onwards showing the wide range of configurations conceived by inventor Dean Kamen and his team.

Here is a list of some of the patents that protect ‘Segway’ technologies.

SegwayPatentsList

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Segway Xtreme now in Twizel

Segway Xtreme has moved to Twizel, offering Fun Rides in town and Guided Tours through the picturesque Mackenzie Basin town of Twizel.

Xtreme1

New owners Phil and Deborah Rive purchased Segway Xtreme from its previous owner in Lake Tekapo, and relocated the business to Twizel last month.

The Rives had strict criteria for the business: it must be fun, it must be safe and able to be used by the whole family, and it must be an activity that show-cases the beautiful and ever-changing scenery that Twizel has to offer. Importantly, the business should reflect the values of taking only photos and leaving only footprints – the essence of eco-tourism. I think you will agree that Segway Xtreme meets all these criteria and much more!

The business has a new page at Facebook here. Segway Xtreme activities include:

  • Short rides at our regular site (town frontage in Wairepo Road)
  • Off road guided rides
  • Corporate team building
  • Birthday parties
  • Special events
  • Weddings (guest entertainment)
  • Promotional activities
  • Carnivals
  • Christmas functions
  • Gala days

Twizel is a fascinating town to visit, having been created as a greenfields development in 1968 to house construction workers for nearby hydroelectric power station construction projects. Heavy earthmoving machines feature as exhibits/sculptures in parks and reserves included on Segway Xtreme’s guided tour route.

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According to Wikipedia the town was laid out in a ‘Scandinavian’ style. Shops, school, and recreational parkland formed a hub in the centre of the town, around which the residential area were built. Looping roads and pedestrian ways make it often far more direct to walk (or use a Segway Personal Transporter) than to use a car. Even the unusual construction of the roadways makes the town particularly Segway-friendly, as there are no curbs separating the road and footpath:

As the intention was for the town to revert to farmland, there were many ‘temporary’ features. For example, instead of putting in kerbing, channels, and footpaths at the edge of the road, a single expanse of seal was contoured in a very flat ‘W’ shape: the seal was highest at the outer edge (footpath) and in the middle (centreline), with a lower area serving as a channel and delineation between the roadway and footpath.

The area boasts one of the world’s cleanest, driest and darkest skies, making the region particularly attractive to astronomers.

Segway Xtreme began in the Hutt Valley in 2009, and moved to Lake Tekapo in 2013. It is a testament to the rugged reliability of the Segway Personal Transporter that these same original six ‘Segway x2’ models are still operating perfectly in a commercial capacity some 7 years later. This is also an excellent demonstration of how the owners of Segway Xtreme have built a business around an identifiable brand that has tradable and relocatable value.

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‘Seeport’ success with 6 Segway PTs

Ports of Auckland’s annual public festival called Seeport is a celebration of the Port, the shipping industry and Auckland’s maritime heritage.

For the second year in a row, event management company Orange Group have hired a fleet of Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) to move key staff around Captain Cook Wharf quickly, quietly and efficiently. Over three days 30 Jan-1 Feb 2016 the event was enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors. The Segway PT once again proved that it is the only vehicle that can move safely through such a crowded environment. Golf carts are too large and too wide, and bicycles are too long and low (the rider does not have a commanding view ahead, and equally the public cannot see the rider so they do not have any cue to make way).

This year, Orange hired six Segway i2 SE Patroller models, up from three machines last year. This model is fitted with front shields and large cargo bags. Several Segway Patrollers also carried loud hailers, along with other public safety equipment.

According to Orange’s Zoe Crossland, the Segway Patrollers were used non-stop from pack-in two days prior to opening day, and right up until the last visitor left.

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