Recently Dyson, the UK appliance company famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners, started legal proceedings against one of its competitors, Bosch, alleging that Bosch has unlawfully obtained secret technology and intellectual property from it.
A high court claim has been filed by Dyson alleging that a member of its staff had been handing secrets to Bosch for the last two years.
Mark Taylor, Dyson research and development director said:
"We have spent over 15 years and £100m developing high-speed brushless motors, which power our vacuum cleaners and Airblade hand dryers. We are demanding the immediate return of our intellectual property."
Mark Taylor’s comments show how much Dyson value their intellectual property rights. Dyson spend a huge amount of money on research and development and use their intellectual property to maintain a competitive edge against their competitors.
A key to Dyson’s success has been their identification of intellectual property, and especially patents, as a means of safeguarding their interests. The key reason for Dyson’s success was the fact that they filed for patent protection whilst developing the Dual Cyclone in 1999. By doing this Dyson were able to fight off Hoover’s attempt to muscle in on the bagless vacuum cleaner market when it launched the Vortex in 1999. Dyson took Hoover to court and eventually emerged from the proceedings with a damages award and an injunction preventing Hoover from offering the Vortex for sale until a year after the Dyson Dual Cyclone patents had expired.
The story serves as a stark reminder as to how important intellectual property rights are to companies and that failing to adequately protect them could prove to be a big mistake.