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Dyson -v- Qualtex

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Further to the news posted yesterday from an anonymous source, we presume it was Dyson themselves, Qualtex have issued a press release in relation to this case late yesterday as well. The release makes several points that frame much of the real significance of this ruling.

The main body of the release is as follows.

+++PRESS RELEASE - QUALTEX+++

The Court of Appeal found in favour of Qualtex on a number of points, although Qualtex remains disappointed that the Court of Appeal disagreed with substantial aspects of Qualtex's case.

Accordingly, the position remains largely as it was before Court of Appeal's decision "“ namely that Qualtex remains able to supply the vast majority of its replacement parts for Dyson vacuum cleaners with no change to the designs of those parts. Of the 14 parts in dispute, neither the High Court decision nor the Court of Appeal decision prevents Qualtex from continuing to sell 12 of these in their original form. Of the remaining 2 parts, following the High Court decision in 2004 Qualtex redesigned one of these - the BRL 50, Qualtex's replacement for Dyson's DC03 and DC04 brush bar. So, despite the decisions of the both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, Qualtex has been able to "“ and will continue to "“ legitimately supply replacements for 13 of the 14 Dyson parts.

In light of the minimal impact which the decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal have had on Qualtex's business, Qualtex has decided not to pursue a further appeal to the House of Lords.

Just as there was no increase in Qualtex's prices for any of its replacement Dyson parts as a result of the High Court's decision; there will similarly be no increase in price as a result of the Court of Appeal's decision.

Qualtex has continued to grow substantially despite the action brought against it by Dyson; and the disappointing rulings of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. It has recently made substantial investments in its online parts search and ordering system "SparesLink"; and also in its new technical and administration centre in Sittingbourne, Kent. Of the four main insurers of household appliances in the UK, Qualtex is now the exclusive supplier of spare parts to two of them; and is in advanced negotiations to similarly supply another.

+++END RELEASE+++

It would appear that this case, which has taken three years to reach a conclusion has come down to an argument over two parts of which, were royalties to be paid to Dyson for manufacturing these equivalent parts, would amount to perhaps a few hundred pounds per year. Quite where the justification is for a three year legal battle and costs measured in millions of pounds is beyond me, but Dyson obviously thought it worthwhile to pursue.

And, in the end, has it really accomplished anything?

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