Hoover could be forced to withdraw all its Triple Vortex vacuum cleaners from shops following its High Court defeat this week by Dyson over a patent infringement.
A High Court judge ruled on Tuesday that Hoover had infringed Dyson’s patent on its dual cyclone bagless dust collection system.
Hoover faces another hearing next Friday, when Dyson will apply for an injunction barring further sales of the Triple Vortex cleaner and seek damages which could run into millions of pounds. A counter-claim by Hoover seeking to have the Dyson patent declared invalid was dismissed.
The judge said Hoover’s design was a dual cyclone, not a triple vortex. And Hoover admitted in court that its third vortex did not collect further dust but actually emitted it.
James Dyson, inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner and founder of the Dyson company, said after the hearing: ‘I spent nearly 20 years developing the technology. Cynically, having initially ignored it when I started showing it around, and then rubbishing it, Hoover decided to copy it, and made a number of false claims about its product.’
He added: ‘It’s a great encouragement to every inventor. Small companies are often very worried about their ability to successfully defend their patents. This shows the system can work.’ Nevertheless the 18-month case has cost Dyson £0.5m and the company will be seeking costs as well as damages at next week’s hearing.
During the case in July, David Kitchen QC, for Dyson, said the Dyson cleaner, which uses centrifugal force to separate dirt from air, ‘turned the industry on its head’. Dyson had broken the mould established by Hoover back in 1908, when it first began producing vacuum cleaners.
Hoover indicated it would seek a Court of Appeal hearing.