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Intellectual Property Disputes: Dyson v Vax [2011] EWCA Civ 1206

December 23, 2011

Dyson limited v Vax Limited[2011] EWCA Civ 1206

The Court of Appeal has handed down a judgment which confirms the decision of the High Court of last year. The case concerned Dyson’s design for the cylinder vacuum cleaner DC02 and Vax’s Mach Zen cleaner.

In this Intellectual Property Disputes case the question before the Court was straight forward. Whether the Mach Zen

“does not produce on the informed user an over all impression”, Art 9(1).

The court went on to say what they have to consider is what the Court sees with its own eyes. The judge referred to Procter and Gamble v Reckitt Benckiser (2007) EWCA Civ 936

“[3] The most important thing in cases about which designs are

  • i) The registered design;
  • ii) The accused object;
  • iii) The prior art.

And the most important thing about each of these is what they look like.

The informed user is a hypothetical person who is reasonably discriminatory, who possesses a relatively high degree of attention in relation to the subject matter at hand and is not a manufacturer or the seller of vacuum cleaners.”

The Appeal Judges thought the registered design of producing a visual impression that is “smooth, curvy and elegant” whilst the Mach Zen is “rugged, angular and industrial” the Court therefore thought that the informed user would consider the Mach Zen produced an different overall visual impression and therefore was not an infringement