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US Bans Hoverboard Imports – Hoverboards Banned

And not because of them catching fire!

The U.S. Just Banned Hoverboard Imports

And it has nothing to do with their fiery explosions.

The International Trade Commission announced Wednesday that the United States is banning imports of so-called hoverboards.

But while some brands of the auto-balancing scooters are known to spontaneously combust, the U.S.’s decision had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with a request from Segway, the hoverboard’s nerdy uncle.

Hoverboards are often described in media reports as Segways without handlebars, or a cooler Segway. But it turns out the new scooters have more in common with their Paul Blart-endorsed predecessor than meets the eye.

Segway filed a complaint with the ITC in 2014, claiming that hoverboards, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China, infringed on some of their patents and copyrights. The particular patents they listed mostly have to do with technologies that allow Segways to self-balance and read user inputs.

“In recent years, there has been an influx of low quality two-wheel personal transporters built on the intellectual property developed by DEKA and Segway,” the company, which licenses the technology from research firm DEKA, said at the time. “If this influx is allowed to continue, this iconic American product and the U.S. jobs dependent on it will be threatened.”

While Segway is based in New Hampshire and continues to manufacture its products there, it was bought last April by Ninebot, a Chinese company that Segway actually listed as a respondent in its 2014 complaint.

The ITC’s ruling goes on to name several brands that are no longer allowed to be imported into the country, including UPTECH, U.P. Technology, U.P. Robotics, FreeGo China, Ecoboomer and Roboscooters.

Segway said it would work with both U.S. customs and the ITC to help implement the ban, although demand for these products is likely at a new low. Just last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced voluntary safety standards for all manufacturers, importers and retailers of self-balancing scooters due to their pesky tendency to catch on fire. Online retailer Amazon even agreed to refund all hoverboard purchases.

All of which means there might be a gaping new hole in the self-balancing scooter market. One that Segway could be poised to fill if it would only get cracking on asmaller, cooler-looking model.

The last isn’t going to happen. Segway will continue to sell vastly overpriced product now that there is no competition.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, News

 

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A Monkey’s Selfie!

This smiling guy is Naruto, an Indonesian macaque monkey which apparently found a lost camera, and then proceeded to take pictures of himself and other monkeys…

Showing the average intelligence of the “selfie” crowd really isn’t much above that of your average ape.

Naruto’s pics are so good apparently there has been a court fight over who gets to use them.

Judge rules on whether monkey can own selfie photos copyright

A federal judge in San Francisco said Wednesday he plans to dismiss a copyright lawsuit filed on behalf of an Indonesian monkey by an advocacy group that claims the animal owns the rights to a famous series of “monkey selfie” photographs.

CBS San Francisco reports that U.S. District Judge William Orrick said he agreed with arguments by camera owner David Slater and self-publishing software company Blurb Inc. that federal copyright law doesn’t allow animals to claim copyright protection.

“I just don’t see that it could go as broadly as beyond humans,” Orrick said during a hearing on a motion by Slater and Blurb for dismissal of the lawsuit filed against them in September by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on behalf of Naruto, a crested macaque.

The judge said he will issue a written order of dismissal at a later date.

But Orrick also said he will allow PETA to file an amended lawsuit if the group wishes to do so. PETA attorney David Schwarz told Orrick he plans to do that, and said outside of court that he will study the future ruling before deciding how to revise the suit.

The now 7-year-old Naruto lives with other macaques in a rainforest reserve on the island of Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, in Indonesia.

He took the selfies in 2011 with a camera that Slater, a British wildlife photographer, left in the reserve.

The lawsuit claims that Naruto, who was accustomed to seeing cameras used by tourists and professional photographers, came upon the unattended camera and created the selfies through a series of “purposeful and voluntary actions…unaided by Slater.”

Naruto’s actions as an author included “purposely pushing the shutter release multiple times (and) understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between pressing the shutter release, the noise of the shutter, and the change to his reflection in the camera lens,” the lawsuit says.

Slater’s lawyers have contended in a filing that Slater set up the photos by “building a trustful, friendly relationship” with a group of macaques over several days and then making artistic decisions about the lens width, positions and settings on the camera he left in the reserve.

Slater published the photos in 2014 in a book called Wildlife Personalities, developed with software obtained from San Francisco-based Blurb. The book is copyrighted in the names of Slater and his private company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., according to the lawsuit.

The soon-to-be dismissed current version of the lawsuit asked the court to declare Naruto the author, order all profits from sales of the selfies to be turned over to Naruto, and assign Virginia-based PETA and German primatologist Antje Engelhardt to administer the proceeds for the benefit of Naruto, other crested macaques and their habitat.

PETA and Engelhardt, an expert on Sulawesi crested macaques, would provide their services for free, the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Naruto, PETA as the monkey’s legal “next friends,” and Engelhardt. The defendants are Slater, Wildlife Personalities Ltd. and Blurb Inc.

Yeah! And you are a monkey’s Uncle!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in American Greed

 

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