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:
- electric unicycles
- self-balancing personal transporters
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.
Here is a list of some of the patents that protect ‘Segway’ technologies.