Today Qualtex lost at the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice Tuckey, Lord Justice Jacob and Lord Justice Lloyd ruled in Dyson's favour against Qualtex selling vacuum cleaner parts that infringe Dyson's design rights.
Qualtex has copied features which allow spare parts to be attached to our products. This is allowed under British law. However, the Chinese manufacturer that produce certain parts to sell to Qualtex, has copied the visual design on some of Dyson's spare parts. This is not allowed under British law.
Inhouse tests conducted by Dyson it's been found that differences in materials used by Qualtex have adversely affected the performance and durability of the parts.
Dyson products are designed and developed by a team of 350 scientists and engineers in the UK. Every Dyson part is tested and quality checked. Designers and companies invest time and effort into creating products. Dyson wanted to highlight the importance of protecting design rights. Often designers do not have the resources to protect their designs through the courts.
James Dyson says:
"We are very pleased to have won this case. It shows how important design right is, especially for small design companies and individual designers who don't necessarily have the means to protect themselves legally against people who copy their designs. If a musician or a writer can claim copyright, why shouldn't a designer be allowed to have design rights on his or her hard work?"
In the interim Qualtex has paid £130,000 towards the costs of appeal. Dyson and Qualtex are now in negotiation over the final settlement for costs, damages and licence.
Dyson believes it is important to invest in British designers of the future and will be donating winnings from the case to the Royal College of Art for student welfare and to help young designers protect their own designs.
Sir Christopher Frayling from the Royal College of Art says:
"Many individual designers and small agencies cannot afford to defend their design rights and tend to be exploited as a consequence. Dyson, which evidently hasn't forgotten its early struggles, has made a point of stressing the principle of design rights - which is all too often ignored at the expense of young designers. There's been much talk about 'intellectual property'; design rights are an under-publicised and very important example."
Dyson has 350 engineers and scientists based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, researching and developing Dyson technology
Dyson invested £50 million pounds towards research and development in 2005
Dyson has almost 1100 patents and patent applications for over 150 different inventions
Dyson took Qualtex to court for copying eleven parts