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Dyson Can’t Fight EU’s Energy Label Law

(CN) - British vacuum-maker Dyson can't fight the European Union's energy-efficiency label law - which the company complained is unfair to its unique bagless cleaners - the European General Court has ruled.

In a Nov. 11 decision, the EU court dismissed Dyson's attempts to annul an EU regulation regulating energy-efficiency labeling for vacuum cleaners, adding that the regulation relied on the best energy-efficiency tests available.

Dyson had argued that because its cleaners use "cyclonic technology" that literally spins the dirt out of the air and don't have bags, the regulation puts the company at a competitive disadvantage. In particular, Dyson said that the EU was unable to test loss of suction due to clogging in bagless cleaners or those that use cyclonic technology.

Cyclonic technology involves separating dust particles suspended in fluid using centrifugal force, with the dust particles then collected in a receptacle. Dust bags are unnecessary because the cyclone continuously expels the dust from the air flow. When dust bags are clogged, a vacuum's suction power - and therefore its energy efficiency - decreases due to weaker air circulation.

The EU court disagreed with Dyson's arguments, saying it was "objective and appropriate" to treat bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners in the same way for energy-efficiency labeling purposes.

"The commission cannot be criticized for having failed to require tests conducted with a dust-loaded receptacle if, under its broad discretion, it decided that such tests were not yet reliable, accurate, and reproducible," the Luxembourg-based court wrote in its 10-page opinion. "The test required under the contested regulation is the only test capable of demonstrating the vacuum cleaners' cleaning performance."

Dyson - which can appeal the court decision to the Court of Justice within two months - condemned the ruling, saying in a statement that it "disregards the interests of consumers in Europe" and referencing the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal.

"The judgment is all the more surprising in view of the revelations about car testing in the VW scandal, where the tests do not reflect real-life usage," the company said.

This is not the first time Dyson has made headline-grabbing statements over the regulation. In 2014, Dyson CEO Sir James Dyson suggested Britain should leave the EU over the labeling standards and blamed German vacuum manufacturers for pushing for the regulation.

"If German companies go on dominating European legislation, that's a very good reason not to be in Europe. If they're not going to listen to us, we shouldn't be in there," Dyson told the Daily Telegraph.

The regulation, adopted by the European Commission in 2010 and taking effect earlier this year, classified consumer products in terms of energy efficiency and technological progress by assigning them a letter grade on a uniform label. The lowest grade was G, and the highest was A+++. Vacuums were limited to 1,400 watts of usage by the regulation.

In October 2013, Dyson filed an application to annul and dismiss the regulation. Earlier this year the EU court heard oral arguments, during which Dyson argued the regulation would mislead consumers because the EU relied upon energy-efficiency tests that evaluated only empty vacuum cleaners, not those with cyclonic technology.

Dyson also argued the rule could dissuade manufacturers from investing in improved energy efficiency. The court also rejected that argument, noting that the regulation requires manufacturers to take into account "future possible technological progress."

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