British engineering firm Dyson has lost a major legal challenge against the European Commission, after claiming the Commission’s energy efficiency testing for vacuum cleaners misled consumers and was biased against manufacturers of bagless cleaners (Dyson) in favour of those that use bags (everyone else).
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) actually accepted Dyson’s claims that the current testing regime didn’t accurately reflect real world (i.e. dusty) conditions, but said that testing only had to be reliable, accurate and reproducible. Dyson’s proposed alternative tests did not fulfil those requirements, it ruled, meaning there was no basis for changing the status quo.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the ECJ then ordered Dyson to pay the Commission’s legal costs for the two-year case. Ouch. Unsurprisingly, Dyson was not happy.
‘It is deplorable that the European Court of Justice endorses tests that don’t attempt to represent in-home use, and we believe this is causing consumers to be misled,’ a company spokesperson said.
‘The judgment is all the more surprising in view of the revelations about car testing in the VW scandal where the tests do not reflect real life usage. We don’t believe the ECJ is acting in the interests of consumers and will continue to fight for testing and labelling, which is.’
Dyson has long claimed it’s been unfairly disadvantaged by Europe’s regulatory environment, and this case will come as a blow both to the firm and indeed to business voices arguing that Britain's better off in the EU. But it’s not the only legal dispute the firm’s engaged in. Last month, Dyson accused rivals Bosch and Siemens of using ‘defeat devices’ to cheat lab tests – accusations that both firms strenuously deny.
That case, and the counter-litigation from Bosch and Siemens owner BSH Hausgeräte, will surely keep Dyson’s legal team busy for a while. In the meantime, though, the firm’s just going to have to suck it in.