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Friday, 13 October, 2000, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Dyson wins Hoover ban
James Dyson with one of his bagless cleaners
James Dyson, with one of his bagless cleaners
Domestic appliance maker Dyson has won a High Court injunction banning the sale of rival Hoover's bagless Vortex vacuum cleaner.

The move comes 10 days after a judge ruled that the Vortex machine was a copy of Dyson's Dual Cyclone design.

Dyson is now expected to push for damages running into millions of pounds from Hoover, at a further High Court hearing.

Hoover says it had already decided to withdraw the popular Vortex machine from sale following the initial High Court judgement.

James Dyson
James Dyson at the High Court
Hoover's managing director Alberto Bertuli told BBC News that the court action would have no impact on jobs.

The company had planned to unveil a new bagless cleaner called Vortex Power next week and must now decide whether to go ahead with the launch.

It has already invested several million pounds in the development and promotion of the Vortex system.

Although similar in appearance to Dyson's cleaner, Hoover claimed its 'triple vortex' action, supposedly derived from North Sea oil technology, gave it the edge on performance.

But at a hearing in early October, deputy judge Michael Fysh ruled Hoover's design was a clear infringement of Dyson's patent.

The judge 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 rivalry

Speaking after an earlier hearing, company founder Mr Dyson said: "Why on earth don't they [Hoover] think of their own ideas instead of copying ours."

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 intended to regain the initiative and re-invent itself as a cutting edge brand with its launch last year of the Vortex range.

High-tech

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 and lead on to advances in other product categories.

Mr Dyson started manufacturing the cleaners when his ideas were turned down by a string of manufacturers.

His lawyer told a seven day High Court hearing in July that getting the industry interested had been like 'extracting teeth'.

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