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Court rejects Dyson’s beef with LG

Apr 26,2018
A Seoul court on Wednesday dismissed Dyson’s request that LG Electronics stop running handheld vacuum cleaner ads that the high-end home appliance company said were misleading.

After LG Electronics launched its advertising campaign for the Code Zero A9 premium vacuum cleaner last June, Dyson disputed some of the phrases in the ads and took LG to court.

Some of the phrases Dyson disputed were “140 watts of suction capacity, the best available,” “suction power lasts for a long time,” “16 times the spinning speed of jet engines,” and “equipped with HEPA filter that can block 99.97 percent of extra-fine dust at 0.3 particulate matter [PM].”

Dyson’s lawsuit claimed that the A9’s suction power falls short of 140 watts and its function is significantly reduced when the dustbin is full.

The Seoul Central District Court denied Dyson’s request that LG halt television, print and online advertisements for the A9, saying the suction power of LG’s vacuum “actually exceeds” that of some Dyson products.

The Code Zero A9 was the first LG cordless vacuum cleaner to have a motor attached to the device’s handle in a design similar to Dyson’s most recent products. LG’s version proved to be a success after its release in June, eating into Dyson’s share of the high-end vacuum market, which the British manufacturer has dominated for more than a decade.

“It’s hard to consider LG’s advertisements as so false or exaggerated that they hurt fair trade,” said the court in the ruling.

An LG spokesman said the ruling proved that its advertisements for the A9 were “based on facts,” and vowed to continue to practice “fair competition” in the future.

“We regret that the Seoul Central District Court denied our preliminary injunction petition against LG Electronics,” said Dyson in a statement. “But we welcome the move by LG Electronics that it has removed from media some of its prior marketing claims on its A9 cordless vacuum cleaners including the ‘most powerful motor of all time’ and the ‘smallest, fastest, strongest motor’ that Dyson had challenged.”

This is not the first time that the two electronics producers have battled in the courtroom.

LG sued Dyson in Seoul in 2016 after Dyson invited bloggers and the local press to a session where it compared the performance of its cordless vacuum cleaners with that of competitors, including LG Electronics models. LG accused Dyson of business obstruction and violation of the fair trade law. Dyson apologized to LG, which then dropped the suit.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]