A Chinese hoverboard-maker’s booth at the CES tech show in Las Vegas has been raided by US marshals.
The officials confiscated all the company’s one-wheeled vehicles and took down its signs after a Silicon Valley-based rival filed a patent infringement claim.
The case is set to return to court in a week’s time.
The Chinese company, Changzhou First International Trade, declined to comment.
Footage of the incident has been posted online by Bloomberg.
While there are many companies exhibiting hoverboards at CES, the Chinese company’s models – which it calls Surfing Electric Scooters – were unusual for having a single central wheel rather than one at each end.
This is similar to California-based Future Motion’s Onewheel vehicle, which uses sensors and computer controls to keep the board balanced.
Changzhou currently lists its device for $550 on the Alibaba shopping site, which is about a third of the price of the Onewheel.
There are two patents involved in the case: one for Onewheel design, which was only issued earlier this month; the other, setting out methods to make the skateboard self-stabilizing, which was filed in April 2014.
“Punitive measures could include a permanent injunction preventing Changzhou from selling the product in the US, monetary damages including lost profits we can prove due to infringing sales, and even attorney’s fees if the court decides it’s an exceptionally egregious case of willful patent infringement,” said Future Motion’s lawyer Shawn Kolitch.
He added that Future Motion had patents pending elsewhere including in China, which it hoped to obtain in order to stop Changzhou manufacturing the device.
This is not the first controversy hoverboards have faced at CES.
Ahead of the event starting, CES organizer announced that attendees were banned from using any type of the vehicles to get about its showfloors.
Dozens of universities and other institutions in the US had earlier banned their use and most of the country’s airlines have also refused to carry them.
The problem is two-fold.
They have been involved in incidents where people have been injured or killed when the rider lost control.
Some of the gadgets have burst into flames as a result of problems with their batteries, leading to concerns that some manufacturers are not following safety standards.
Netflix has extended its service to nearly every country in the world.
The streaming service company announced it had switched on its service in 130 additional countries.
Netflix said it was still trying to expand to China. The other exceptions are North Korea, Syria and Crimea, where it is banned from operating by US law.
The announcement was made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at his keynote speech at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.
Reed Hastings also confirmed that Netflix would begin offering HDR (high dynamic range) content later this year.
Netflix shares jumped to about 8% over their opening price following the announcements.
Reed Hastings said Netflix was in talks with the Chinese government, but acknowledged it would take time to reach an agreement.
“It’s a very large country, you know a billion Chinese that we want to give access to the Netflix content,” he said.
“In China you need specific permission from the government to operate, so we are continuing to work on that and we are very patient.”
As part of its expansion, Netflix has added support for Korean, Chinese and Arabic to its list of supported languages.
That brings the total number – in which the firm provides subtitles, captions and alternative audio – to 21 languages.
Reed Hastings added that Netflix would initially focus on expanding the reach of its existing content rather than commissioning extra locally-made shows.
For consumers who already have Netflix, the biggest change may be the addition of HDR.
High dynamic range video allows compatible TVs to show millions more colors and a wider dynamic range – added shades of brightness in between black and white – letting more detail be shown.
Many experts believe the impact is greater than that of just jumping from 1080p to 4K ultra-high definition resolution alone. One consequence of using the format, however, is that it requires more data, and few TVs support it yet.
Reed Hastings said users with compatible TVs should get a “visceral sensation that’s pretty amazing”.
Netflix’s rival, Amazon, began streaming a limited number of shows in the format in 2015.
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