During this year's CES conference in Las Vegas, some members of the press witnessed a surprising scene. US Marshals raided the booth of a Chinese company selling one-wheeled "hoverboards," packing up their merchandise and forcing them to close up shop.
The raid was prompted by legal action from Future Motion, a California startup that sells a similar looking one-wheeled "hoverboard" called the Onewheel. Future Motion says that the Chinese competitor, Changzhou First International Trade Co., was violating two of its patents. The company went to federal court and in an "ex parte" proceeding, with no opposition, asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order. After a seven-minute hearing, the TRO was issued.
The raid produced unexpected blowback. Changzhou First didn't give in—the company lawyered up, hiring major law firm Merchant & Gould to argue its case. A hearing was set for February 19, but it won't take place. Future Motion dropped its case two weeks before the hearing.