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Dyson Wins Court Battle over Design Rights
Jan 17, 2005
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UK vacuum cleaner maker Dyson announced that Birmingham law firm Wragge & Co has scored an important victory for Dyson in a case concerning the design rights of spare parts.

In a High Court judgment, following a 14-day trial, Justice Mann held that Qualtex, one of Europe's largest manufacturers and distributors of domestic appliance spare parts, had infringed Dyson's design rights in respect of 11 different spare parts and accessories for vacuum cleaners.

Dyson claims it is the first case that has tested the extent to which manufacturers can control the aftermarket in spare parts since the introduction of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act in 1989.

Intellectual property (IP) partner and dispute resolution specialist, Cerryg Jones, led the Wragge & Co team with support from IP partner David Barron, associate Nicola Tatchell and solicitor Carina Loweth. The team worked very closely with Gill Smith, head of IP at Dyson. Wragge & Co has an existing relationship with Dyson, providing it with full service legal support. Willoughby & Partners acted for Qualtex.

"Design rights are a fundamental part of any modern manufacturing and design-led company," Mr. Jones said. "Designers and companies invest resources, time, and effort into creating products, and it is vital that these rights are protected. Our team worked well with the in-house team at Dyson on this long and complex case, and I am extremely pleased with the outcome."

Gill Smith, head of IP, added: "Our objective was to ensure that Qualtex did not infringe our design rights. We felt it was important to stand up for the creative process and protect the rights of designers and engineers.

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