updated 07:46 am EST, Mon February 17, 2014
Claims of copied design said to have damaged Samsung corporate image
Samsung is suing British bagless vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson for claimed damage to the company's image. Stemming from a patent lawsuit from last year, one that was later dropped, Samsung is seeking 10 billion won ($9.43 million) in compensation over accusations that Samsung's "marketing activities were negatively affected" by Dyson's legal action.
The original lawsuit by Dyson claimed Samsung's Motion Sync cleaner used a similar steering mechanism to its own products, with the related patent covering a way for a vacuum cleaner unit to spin and follow the user instead of being dragged. At the time, founder Sir James Dyson claimed "This looks like a cynical rip-off," and that "Samsung has many patent lawyers so I fund it hard not to believe that this is a deliberate or utterly reckless infringement of our design." The suit was dropped by Dyson three months later.
"Last week, Samsung Electronics legal counsel filed legal papers with the Seoul Central District Court against Dyson as the latter's previous litigation has hurt Samsung's corporate image," a Samsung spokesperson told the Korea Times. "We are initially seeking 10 billion won compensation from the UK-based manufacturer; however, the amount will increase depending on how court proceedings go."
Shortly after Dyson dropped its patent suit, Samsung co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun attacked Dyson, stating "The most unproductive innovation is a patent litigation." Dyson's apparent bad record of litigation was also brought up by the spokesperson to the report, claiming the new suit is an attempt to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future.
Dyson has been successful in litigating against Samsung in the past, however. In 2009, Samsung was forced to pay Dyson £600,000 ($940,000) after it attempted to patent Dyson's "triple-cyclone" system.