It's now illegal to import most hoverboards into the U.S., but not for the reason you’re thinking

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After months of stories of hoverboards catching fire and several cities and universities banning their use in public, a federal government body decided today to ban most hoverboards from being imported into the country.

The International Trade Commission ruled that, because Segway has patents on some of the technology used by devices like hoverboards to balance, other companies are temporarily banned from importing and selling similar products, Gizmodo reports:

Segway holds over 400 patents involving technology that allows so-called hoverboards to balance. But the main one they’re hanging their hat on is 8830048, which was filed as recently as April 2013.

The Commission says that any company wishing to temporarily import hoverboards will have to post a bond equal to the entire cost of the hoverboard until a final decision about the fate of imports is determined.


Segway originally filed a complaint with the I.T.C. in 2014 over what they say are patent infringements. Meanwhile, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued guidelines that hoverboards aren't safe unless they meet new safety standards introduced last month. In January, Amazon began offering refunds for anyone who bought a hoverboard through the online retailer, in light of these safety concerns. A long list of airlines have also banned passengers from carrying hoverboards either in their checked or carry-on luggage, because the devices' lithium batteries could be dangerous if they catch fire mid-air.