Scooter giant Razor sues Swagway over hoverboard patent

Eli Blumenthal
Hoverboarding: Fun or frightful?

NEW YORK—While hoverboards have become a popular item for holiday shoppers they have also become the gift that keeps on giving for lawyers.

With so many companies making it hard to distinguish such boards, a bevy of lawsuits have appeared over the last few months. On Nov. 27 in California, scooter maker Razor sued hoverboard manufacturer Swagway for infringing a patent it owns for a "Two-Wheel, Self-Balancing Vehicle With Independently Movable Foot Placement Sections." (In essence that's what these "hoverboards" are.) This latest suit was first reported on Thursday by BuzzFeed News.

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Among the remedies being sought by Razor are supplemental and compensatory damages from Swagway. It also wants Swagway to turn over to Razor all products that infringe on the patent.

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The lawsuit comes only weeks after Razor reached an exclusive licensing agreement with the patent's holder, Shane Chen. Razor now sells its own hoverboard, called the Hovertrax, for $599.99 on its website.

Swagway declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted by USA TODAY.

Most of the hoverboard devices that have become popular in recent months are manufactured and imported from China, making it difficult to police the category. This latest lawsuit adds to a growing list of legal battles between companies in the emerging hoverboard category, with each company claiming to be the "first" to make the product or claiming that they should be allowed to continue making their boards because the patents at issue are too broad.

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In September, Chen's company Inventist was sued by Segway. At the same time, Inventist turned around and launched its own suit against one of the more popular hoverboad makers, IO Hawk.

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal