Dyson wins five-year legal battle over EU energy labelling laws
Electricals company accused the EU of flagrantly discriminating against a specific technology – its own patented cyclone
Dyson has won a legal battle with the European courts over energy labelling of vacuum cleaners.
The electricals giant began its case against the EU in 2013, when it challenged labelling laws on the basis that efficiency tests carried out on empty machines do not reflect conditions as close as possible to real-life use.
The company argued that products should be tested in real-world conditions because vacuum cleaners using bags and filters can become clogged, leading in some cases to a loss of suction and meaning a consumer could buy an A-rated machine that drops to G-grade efficiency as it is used in the home. Dyson is famous for its bagless vacuum cleaner.
The UK firm’s argument was dismissed in 2015, but Dyson appealed in 2016 and last year the European Court of Justice upheld that appeal in part. The case was then sent back to the General Court for a new assessment and on Thursday, Dyson’s argument was upheld.
A Dyson spokeswoman said: “This is welcome news and a win for consumers across Europe. We have been arguing consistently that the Commission committed two legal violations to the detriment of European consumers and Dyson.”
The spokeswoman said that lab tests for energy labels do not reflect “real use”, and said the EU labelling system “flagrantly discriminated against a specific technology” – Dyson’s patented cyclone.
“This benefited traditional, predominantly German, manufacturers who lobbied senior Commission officials. Some manufacturers have actively exploited the regulation by using low motor power when in the test state, but then using technology to increase motor power automatically when the machine fills with dust – thus appearing more efficient,” she added.
“This defeat software allows them to circumvent the spirit of the regulation, which the European Court considers to be acceptable because it complies with the letter of the law.
“In these days of Dieselgate, it is essential consumers can trust what manufacturers say about their products. But the Commission endorsed a measure that allowed Dyson competitors to game the system.
“The legal process has been long, distracting and expensive, with the odds stacked against us. Most businesses simply do not have the resources to fight regulations of this nature. It is appalling that this illegal and fundamentally anti-competitive behaviour has been endorsed for so long.”
Dyson founder Sir James Dyson was a vocal supporter of Brexit in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016, and said leaving the bloc would not hamper the UK’s economy.
Last month the company said its new electric car plant would be opened in Singapore.
Additional reporting by newswires