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Mark Cuban: Wal-Mart "In For A Nightmare" Over Hoverboard Plans

The retail giant wants to cash in on the hoverboard craze. Are they walking into a legal buzzsaw?

Posted on September 22, 2015, at 2:19 p.m. ET

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Mark Cuban

Earlier today, BuzzFeed News reported that Wal-Mart would start selling the wildly in-demand scooters called "hoverboards" online in time for the holiday season.

Now Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur who has signed a letter of agreement that would give him the exclusive license on the American patent for "a two-wheel, self-balancing personal vehicle," says that the world's biggest retailer has a rude surprise coming: "They are in for a nightmare," Cuban wrote to BuzzFeed News after being informed of Wal-Mart's plans.

As BuzzFeed News reported last week, Cuban reached an agreement last month to buy the patent license from Shane Chen, an Oregon inventor who has sued the best-known American importer of the Chinese-manufactured hoverboards, IO Hawk, for patent infringement. Chen's company makes a board called Hovertrax.

Informed of Wal-Mart's move, Chen told BuzzFeed News that his company, Inventist, had been in talks with the retail giant, but that he didn't know which version of the board they were going to sell.

If Wal-Mart imports boards not made by Chen's company, they may face a patent infringement suit.

"Are they going to sell the illegal ones? I hope they know they are illegal," Chen said.

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