Europe's top court has ruled that the General Court issued a flawed and unfair verdict against Dyson, Britain's best-known manufacturer.
Dyson sued the European Commission over energy labelling regulations, which it argued favoured continental rivals, principally Bosch and Siemens. The labels were derived from tests in dust-free, "pristine" lab conditions, giving German manufacturers an unfair advantage over Dyson's more efficient designs, the company claimed. Dyson also had cheaper running costs under everyday conditions, in which conventional designs lose draw.
Dyson has separately sued Bosch and Siemens' parent company BSH after finding that 750W-rated appliances really draw over 1600W of power when full. A sensor puts the Siemens Q8.0 and Bosch GL80 models into low power mode in pristine conditions – such as a lab test – then ramps it up again for everyday use. Dyson has called the regulations "German dominated" and compared it to the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Bosch denies the claim.
In its 2015 decision, the General Court accepted Dyson's argument that energy efficiency is reduced when a vacuum cleaner receptacle contains dust and dirt, so the testing process was flawed. However, it challenged Dyson to come up with reproducible tests, and concluded that it hadn't.
Today, on appeal, the European Court of Justice found that the General Court had both "manifestly distorted" and ignored Dyson's evidence on the key question of whether there are accepted, reproducible industry tests for a loaded receptacle. The General Court had decided that the test devised by the European standards body CELENEC was not reproducible, when the evidence suggested it was.
In addition, by demanding that Dyson come up with a better test, the General Court had failed to show the firm equal treatment.
"This is a rare and historic win for consumers affirming Dyson's view that testing must represent performance in the home," Dyson CEO Max Conze said in a statement. "The European Commission stepped outside their legal framework to make this test irrelevant and misleading to consumers. Dyson was the only manufacturer to support a cap on motor wattage, the most effective way of reducing energy consumption, promoting greater efficiency. Dyson develops high performance machines for real in-home use."
The Court of Justice bounced the case back down to the General Court, and wants it to look at the reproducibility. ®
Bosch threatened to sue founder Sir James Dyson for defamation after he compared Bosch's vacuum design to the "defeat device" in the Volkswagen diesel scandal. "They were subsequently found out for helping to install a very similar device, a so-called defeat device, in VW cars. No case against Dyson was forthcoming," the company notes. ®