Siding With Vacuum Giant, Court Chucks Misleading Energy Rule

(CN) – Dyson persuaded the European General Court to annul energy-labeling rules Thursday, showing that the tests are misleading since they do not reflect the conditions that occur during actual use.

A U.K. company that offers bagless, cyclonic technology, Dyson brought the challenge at issue in 2013 when the European Commission adopted its directive with respect to the energy labeling of vacuum cleaners.

While the regulation requires that energy performance be tested with empty receptacles, Dyson argued that a dust-loaded receptacle would offer more accurate results.

As compared to its bagless vacuums, Dyson notes that actual use will cause dust bags to become clogged, causing a vacuum’s suction power – and therefore its energy efficiency – to decrease.

Though Dyson argued that the regulation put it at a competitive disadvantage — taking away the incentive for manufacturers to invest in working around the loss of suction — the European General Court initially dismissed its action in 2015.

After a reversal from the European Court of Justice in 2017, however, the General Court reheard the case this past March and sided Thursday with the company.

“ In the present case, it is apparent … that the commission adopted a method for calculating the energy performance of vacuum cleaners based on an empty receptacle,” the ruling states.

“It must, therefore, be found that the first condition laid down by the enabling act as interpreted by the judgment on appeal is not met.

“That finding is sufficient to conclude that the commission failed to have regard to an essential element of the enabling act.”

A spokesperson for Dyson applauded the ruling, saying that “the EU label flagrantly discriminated against” Dyson’s patented cyclone technology.

“This benefited traditional, predominantly German, manufacturers who lobbied senior commission officials,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Some manufacturers have actively exploited the regulation by using low motor power when in the test state, but then using technology to increase motor power automatically when the machine fills with dust – thus appearing more efficient. This defeat software allows them to circumvent the spirit of the regulation, which the European Court considers to be acceptable because it complies with the letter of the law.”

Calling the ruling “a win for consumers across Europe,” the spokesperson added that it has been Dyson’s consistent argument that the commission committed two legal violations.

Thursday’s ruling has settled Dyson’s challenge with the European Commission, but the company is still awaiting a ruling from the European Court of Justice as to its claims against competing vacuum manufacturers at Siemens and Bosch.

Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe advised the Luxembourg-based court to rule against Dyson back in February.

%d bloggers like this: