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Segway 1, Copycats 0: US Bans Importation Of Certain Personal Transporters, Hoverboards

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The U.S. International Trade Commission is backing up Segway's patents claims and will bar the importation of personal transport products that are believed to be infringing on the company's protected intellectual properties.

The ITC's general exclusion order protects the technologies that give Segways and their riders their iconic, forward-leaning stances when riding the personal transporters (PTs).

The patent, No. 8,830,048, will be protected until it expires. The general exclusion order will prevent the importation of personal transporters, components and manuals that infringe on the patent.

"The General Exclusion Order is particularly significant because it blocks importation of all products from all sources that infringe a broad patent covering Segway's PTs," Segway said in a statement (PDF). "It will be enforced at the border by U.S. Customs, which will exclude all infringing imports from entry into the United States."

The ITC issued a limited exclusion order that protects four other Segway patents and the company's copyright. The order will also protect the patents and copyrights from personal transporters, components and manuals that allegedly infringe on them.

Segway intends to work with both the ITC and the U.S. Customs to support the "effective implementation of the order," the company stated.

The ITC's exclusion orders were followed by cease and desist orders to companies that have already imported into the United States manuals, components and personal transport products that allegedly infringe on Segway's patents and copyright.

While the most popular manufacturers of hoverboards where named in the the limited exclusion order, the ITC's set of mandates addresses several manufacturers of self-balancing boards, or "hoverboards," that have been importing items believed to be infringing on Segway's protected products.

It's a big win for Segway, which filed its complaint back in September 2014 and spurred the subsequent investigation that led to the general and limited exclusion orders. And while it's the first loss copycats have endured going head-to-head against Segway, this isn't their only major defeat.

Back in February, the Consumer Products Safety Commission categorically banned self-balancing boards in the United States until the products were brought up to code and proved they were no longer fire hazards.

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