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back to article Dyson alleges spy stole 'leccy motor secrets for Bosch

British vacuum cleaner magnate Dyson has started High Court proceedings against German industrial giant Bosch, claiming its rival swiped its designs for a new generation of electric motor. Mark Taylor, Dyson's R&D chief, said: “Bosch’s VP for engineering employed a Dyson engineer and benefited from our confidential know-how and …

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Anonymous Coward

Vaccum maker?

Is a Dyson - or other cyclonic cleaner, strictly speaking a *vacuum* cleaner. I had thought not, although see Dyson themselves describe the products as vacuum cleaners.

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Re: Vaccum maker?

"Is a Dyson - or other cyclonic cleaner, strictly speaking a *vacuum* cleaner." - Errr ... Yes!

Although no cleaner produces an absolute vacuum (impossible to obtain in any form) they do all work by producing a region of low pressure which sucks the dirt up and hence can be correctly described as vacuum cleaners.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Vaccum maker?

> can be correctly described as vacuum cleaners.

What? You mean a hoover?

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Anonymous Coward

"hoover"

What is this action "hooving" of which you speak?

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MJI
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Re: Vaccum maker?

Call a Dyson a Hoover and James will hunt you down, he HATES that term.

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Say what you want about Dyson

... but my Dyson vacuum cleaner has been going strong for several years.

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Re: Say what you want about Dyson

...mine hasn't.

While the 'cyclone' tech stuff still works, it's the other non-design stuff (hose, wheels, etc.) that continues to split, fall-off, break, etc.

I've been through two Dyson vacuum cleaners and I'm still not convinced of the £££ premium they cost. Bosch currently make better value gear.

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Re: Say what you want about Dyson

"While the 'cyclone' tech stuff still works, it's the other non-design stuff (hose, wheels, etc.) that continues to split, fall-off, break, etc."

http://www.dyson.co.uk/spares

Hose is £23

Wheel is £3

not like they are trying to rip you off, and all parts are user serviceable.

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If still in the 5 year warranty period they send you parts for free. Only had a bearing in a brush bar go, they swiftly sent a new one. That was after the woman at customer services had taken a listen to the racket it was making over the phone.

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Re: "mine hasn't"

I'm pretty rough on vacuums; swinging them around by the handle to move them, bumping the wheels into walls, but again, the Dyson (a DC14, to be specific) has lived up to the abuse. As Lusty points out, it's also pretty easy to replace individual parts.

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Silver badge

Re: "mine hasn't"

Yup, My DC14 is still going strong. Bought it in 2005 and ive replaced nothing. There has been a bit of epoxy and tape used on it in recent times - most of the damage has been caused by the kids using it as a horse.

And unlike my dads metal beasty antique hoover it actually picks up from the carpet (I think my dads ancient hoover just makes the noise trying to convince you it is doing something)

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Thumb Down

Re: "mine hasn't"

I hear this at a lot... Are you really surprised that a hideously expensive cleaner lasts 5 to 7 years (with only a few repairs!) and you think that is good?

Since 2000 I have brought two cleaners, less than 160gbp combined. They are both still going strong, one is now 12 years old and was only replaced as I moved into a house with parket floors and I didn't want to scratch them using the one with plastic wheels (so I got a Bosch Parket cleaner)... Neither have had repairs of any sort.

I like the idea of the Dyson, but they cost twice what they should for what they are.

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Re: "mine hasn't"

Yep, I'm with you on that one Stacy. I've had a Henry hoover for years. Nothing goes wrong with them. The parts, if required, are stupidly cheap and it only cost £80. But the main reason I use it is because it is so light. Dyson's just weigh half a ton. And because they are uprights, rather than cylinders, you have to move this half-ton mass back and forth all the time. I also hate the mess of emptying them. And others must agree as, whenever I see one, the cylinder is invariably full! Give me a decent bag-vac any time.

They are hugely popular so I must be missing something but having used them a lot (in two businesses) I found them overly pricey, overly heavy, a pain in the backside to empty and they don't clean any better than any other decent brand cleaner.

And as for "no loss of suction, ever" - give me a break. I'd love to know where the energy to keep that huge mass of dirt flying around the cylinder at high speed is coming from?

Their hand-driers on the other hand - awesome!

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Re: "mine hasn't"

That is a comment I have had about the Bosch from people I know with Dysons. How much have you spent on bags over those years (maybe 30 euros...) I don't know they cost very little for boxes of 5. Certainly not the 200 euro difference in cost!

And yes.. The suction! With their innovative design it's like having 20% more power! And the ones with bags lose 20% suction! Even if I beleived that (our Bosch keeps going full tilt till it's really, really full or at least it still sucks up everything on the floor...) as the salesman tried to get me to when I got the Bosch instead of the Dyson at more than 3 times the price, it would still mean the Bosch at least suction had 20% more suction than the Dyson as it had a patheric motor in it.

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Bronze badge

Re: "mine hasn't"

I think there are Dysons of different sizes. You could get one of the smaller ones. But Dysons are jolly expensive and you could probably get satisfactory service from an inferior but cheaper machine. Disclaimer: I'm a man. And I don't have anything to do with Dyson, but I used to love watching [Tomorrow's World] on TV, with all the inventions.

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Coat

Re: "mine hasn't"

Lucky you, my Bosh vacuum has been rubbish, yelling at it doesnt seem to make it want to pickup dirt.

Regretting replacing the previous Dyson which just worked for year and year and years until it fell down the staires :S

Twice

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@ Robert

Cheaper does not mean inferior...

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Re: "mine hasn't"

Sorry to hear that... You have got the setting correct haven't you? (Mine runs on Eco 90% of the time, but never less)

My Panasonic (1st) and Bosch are great machines. When it does eventually die (no expecting it to for some time yet - barring stair issues ;p) it'll probably get replaced with the same Bosch machine again - a friend has the new version of it and is just as impressed as I am.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: going strong for several years.

The switch broke?

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MJI
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Interesting

We have goods from both.

I am not particularly happy with Dyson at the moment. My wife's washing machine is getting tatty but spares are getting difficult, it comes up with faults but we cannot afford the callout as it is on borrowed time anyway, we would spend the £100 or so then the bearing could fail the following day and we would have wasted it.

We were considering Bosch as our fridge freezer, oven hob and car ECU are all Bosch, and reliable.

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I like both brands.

Although I think Dyson stopped making their washing machines due to 'issues'

All my kitchen stuff is Bosch - mainly as I noticed it never broke, so as each other brand died, a Bosch item appeared in its place.

I've got a very old Dyson DC07 that's still going strong after... well I've no idea, but can't be too far off 10.

I've happily replaced the odd hose here and there as they wore out. Motor finally packed in a couple of years ago, and I think I paid Dyson to come round and fix it - was only £20 more than the motor alone on ebay and looked a bit more of a job.

Not only did they fix my motor, I got new replacement parts from the engineer for anything that looked 'worn' - including a new cylinder that they posted out as he didn't have one with him. One of those quite mind-bloggling bits of customer care that has ensured I'll bang on about how much I love Dyson at pretty much any opportunity

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting

Have I stumbled into the "Which" forums by mistake? I think the focus of this story is industrial espionage at one of the UK's most innovative companies rather than footling banality about domestic appliances - but I could be wrong.

I also particularly like "My wife's washing machine" - what's the weather like in the 1950's?

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Pint

@enigmatix

Damn straight. You know what this story needs to liven it up? A patent trial where Bosch and Dyson race to get each other's products banned while driving judges and jurors to drink.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Have I stumbled into the "Which" forums?

@enigmatix: Have I stumbled into the "Which" forums by mistake? I think the focus of this story is industrial espionage at one of the UK's most innovative companies rather than footling banality about domestic appliances ..

I totally agree, it's like being stuck at a train-spotters convention. Now see what they've made me do, link to the Daily Mail ...

"Dyson said it had discovered an email trail between its engineer, who worked at the firm’s design headquarters at Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and Dr Wolfgang Hirschburger, a vice president of engineering at Bosch" link

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MJI
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Re: I like both brands.

Our vacuum cleaner works well, had to slightly modify the foam filter as it was unwashably clogged.

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MJI
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Re: My wife's washing machine

Well it is, it was a present from her mum, for her, therefore it is her washing machine.

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Anonymous Coward

unwashably clogged

that's pretty much how I feel - mentally speaking.

It is extremely reassuring to know that your cleaner is working well - although I hope you haven't voided the warranty with your modifications! Well done!

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MJI
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Re: unwashably clogged

I removed the yellow plastic things filter, it was totally clogged and was not cleaning very well.

It does mean I have to clean the other filters more, but I will stick a new one in sometime.

Stripping the cyclone down every couple of years and airlining it clean helps a lot too.

Our other vacuum cleaner has a bag, never replaced, as it is rarely used dry.

Vax 4000 we use it 90% as a carpet washer, 9% drain unblocker, 1% I could not find the DC02. Also the only vacuum cleaner we have had which needed a holiday in a repair place (pump went).

Dyson products are interesting technically, he makes good use of engineering plastics.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: unwashably clogged

I can't decide whether you are for real.

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Happy

Re: I like both brands.

A rumour I read recently about the demise of the Dyson washing machines was that a supplier massively increased the cost of one of the key components and they just couldn't source another (bit skeptical about that.)

Anyway.. sadly (because I have one too) Dyson are finally ending maintenance on them as of the end of this year as they say spares are now getting thin on the ground. Mine's been pretty good in the 8 years I've had it (no torn clothing or any of the other stories I've read), though the engineer has been out to repair it a few times (the door lock seems to be a particularly problematic part... it's just starting failing in a different way, fortunately before the deadline) - but each time the service has been excellent.

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MJI
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Re: unwashably clogged

I am, but are you?

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MJI
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Re: Washing machines

It was the drum bearing, went up a LOT so they stopped making them.

But since they cost a lot people do not like to throw them away.

Ours is getting F13 but the water still gets hot, then spin is OK.

I think we will be taking up the M-I-L offer of a new washing machine, but what do we get?

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MJI
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Re: re: Have I stumbled into the "Which" forums?

No but we do want clean carpets and clothes you know!

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> 15 years and £100 million developing high-speed brushless motors

With such "world beating" technology, you'd think they would be more careful about protecting their designs - or do patent disputes only work for software?

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Anonymous Coward

I'd assume the particular piece of hardware wasn't finished and the magical world of real stuff it seems they tend to patent working products.

On the other hand, this can't be true, we're always being told it's them "dirty yellow Chinese" types that are stealing all our industrial secrets, and last time I checked the Germans weren't the Chinese! Something must be wrong with this story...

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"With such "world beating" technology, you'd think they would be more careful about protecting their designs - or do patent disputes only work for software?"

Isnt that the whole point of the court case?

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Anonymous Coward

Chinese

The alleged spy is in this case Chinese. It is also alleged that it was not only Bosch that were involved, info is alleged to have gone further East too.....

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Unhappy

That sucks...

..but it's not uncommon for this type of industrial espionage to take place

Someone I know owns a company that kicked off with a unique product that sold well put them on the market

One day he received a call from a man claiming to represent a much larger competing company. This chap on the other side of the phone asked if he was speaking to the head of engineering. He replied, "yes you are". The caller said "I will pay you £250,000 for the blueprints of the product, no questions asked"

My friend answered, "Well thanks for the offer but I own the company too" The caller hung up (And he's not heard anything since)

He did enquire with the larger company but they claimed no-one with that name was employed by them.

It seems that there are no scruples when it comes to gaining an edge in design..

I hope Dyson wins, it's a great British product, designed and built in the UK and they have every right to be upset in the German competitor has received their IP via decietful means.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That sucks...

Do they still make stuff here?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1801909.stm

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That sucks...

(It said then the washing machines are UK, but that was a while ago)

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Pirate

Re: That sucks...

Yep, I was young and naive when the MD came into the Lab at the long defunct company where I was working, and we were failing to create a product to match our competitor's new wonder stuff for less than about twice the price per litre.

"Jan", he said to a colleague, "you used to work for XYZ's. Who do you know there we can bribe to get the formula?"

In the end they did something more creative: they hired an accounts clerk from the other company, and he knew what the magically cheap wonder ingredient was...

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Silver badge

Re: That sucks...

No, but after the manufacturing moved to the far East, they employed more people than they did before, but in higher paid jobs R&D jobs.

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Meh

Re: That sucks...

Industrial Espionage My Arse.

Give employees the respect that comes with company loyalty together with a bit of job security.

In the age of contractor IP leak, what do you expect! employee/contractor uses all his/her knowledge to provide solutions to the present companies problem. These solutions generally are from previous employment experiences.

For the simple minded HR/Legal people.

"Wot I saw/did/observed/recorded/developed generally are part of said individuals experience, experience has a value, this is why you are all so giggly when they appear for an interview from your competing company.

In a nutshell, avoid IP leak by either respecting those "human resources" that created the IP in the first place

or employ more legals than <Cox variety> after the fact!

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MJI
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Re: That sucks...

Don't know, but they employ a lot more people now

Pity they dropped out of the washing machine market

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Coat

nothing new....

It SUCKS, but this sort of carry on has been going on since the invention of the vacuum cleaner.

i'll get my coat !

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jai
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not actually denying it

Bosch's comments don't exactly deny that they did receive confidential IP information, they're just stating that garden products and vacuum cleaners aren't the same things.

Sounds a lot like the Chewbacca Defence to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: not actually denying it

"We didn't steal the electric motor design to put into vacuum cleaners or hand dryers like Dyson say, we stole it to put into garden equipment which is totally different."

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I can't say

I can't say that I have faith in Dyson products. The only Dyson product I ever owned (a vacuum cleaner) failed a few months after its warranty expired.

Yet my BOSCH corded hammer drill must be at least 10 years old, and still going like a trooper. As is my BOSCH IXO, and my BOSCH fridge.

Also, I suppose its totally inconcievable that BOSCH, with their multi-million £ R&D departments have the expertese to come up with similar design concepts independantly.

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Go

Re: I can't say

"I can't say that I have faith in Dyson products. The only Dyson product I ever owned (a vacuum cleaner) failed a few months after its warranty expired."

Kerby are the best for vacuum cleaners. People think that Dyson are, but they're all hype and marketing. Kerby are the bees knees and have been for years, with a price tag to match.

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Re: I can't say

Shite at sucking up dirt though

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