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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 15:15 GMT
Hoover wins court battle with Dyson
James Dyson with one of his bagless cleaners
James Dyson, with one of his bagless cleaners
Domestic appliance maker Dyson has lost the latest round of its long-running High Court battle with bitter rival Hoover.

Dyson failed in its attempt to stop Hoover using the "Vortex" trademark on its bagless cleaners.

Deputy judge Michael Fysh QC said it was "unjust and certainly not necessary" to stop Hoover calling its latest model the "Vortex Power".

The ruling came despite an order made by judge Fysh in October that Hoover's Triple Vortex cleaner should be banned from sale because it infringed Dyson's copyright on bagless machines.

Hoover 'delighted'

Alberto Bertali, managing director of Hoover, said after the hearing: "We are delighted.

"In relation to our latest generation of bagless cleaners, Vortex Power and Whirlwind, the judge has indicated that Dyson Appliances agree that neither product infringes any patents. So it is business as usual."

He said Hoover had stopped producing the machines using the technology covered by the injunction.

"We have moved on to even better products, and this injunction has absolutely no effect on any of these. In this respect it is hardly a victory for Dyson."

Alberto Bertali, MD of Hoover Appliances Europe
Business as usual: Alberto Bertali

At October's hearing Judge Fysh ruled Hoover's design for the Triple Vortex was a clear infringement of Dyson's patent.

He rejected Hoover's argument that the technology behind the Dyson machine involved nothing that was not generally known within the industry.

Hoover, which counterclaimed for the removal of Dyson's patent on the grounds of 'obviousness and lack of novelty', is seeking to take the case to the court of appeal.

Bitter rivals

Hoover has a history of bitter rivalry with Dyson, which has revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market with its 'dual cyclone' design.

Ten years ago a quarter of all vacuum cleaners sold in the UK were made by Hoover, but now it has less than 10% of the market, according to industry estimates.

More than half of the vacuum cleaners sold in the UK are made by Dyson.

Hoover fought back from financial disaster in the UK in the mid-1990s, when a free flights offer went wrong.

The Vortex range was supposed to introduce a new generation of consumers to the brand.

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