Hoverboards have quickly become a staple accessory for both tech connoisseurs and douchebags everywhere, cementing their place as one of 2016’s most defining cultural trends (alongside vapes and self-loathing memes). From Skrillex to your drug dealer, it seems as though everyone with $500 to spare is rolling around town on one of these things. Despite extensive evidence as to their danger and likelihood of catching fire, the fad has yet to die down. Unfortunately for the few remaining, prospective buyers, however, it may soon be too late to join the party.
In a report issued by Gizmodo this afternoon, it was revealed that the United States International Trade Commission has officially issued an order banning the import of hoverboards into the country. While what first comes to mind is the device’s safety, the ban actually has to do with popular, standing electric scooter company Segway‘s patent claims on self-balancing transport technology.
Currently, Segway holds the rights to over 400 separate patents having to do with the specific form of balancing tech that characterizes their own product, the most broad one being #8830048. This patent describes the idea in its most general terms, referring to the actual mode of transport as a whole.
Ever since the ban order was listed, hoverboard manufacturing companies wanting to sell their products in the U.S. have had to purchase bonds that match the monetary value of the hoverboard. These will act as assurance in the case that Segway decides to sue, in which case the “losses” they suffered by these sales will be able to be returned to them in full. One of these outside companies, Ecoboomer, has already received a cease a desist order from the ITC, and will be prohibited from selling their boards in the country.