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Dyson loses battle over EU energy labels


British vacuum cleaner brand, Dyson, has lost its legal bid to modify the energy labeling for vacuum cleaners within the European Union.

The tech giant, famous for bagless cleaners, said the European Energy Label was "flawed" in its current form this October, as vacuum cleaners were only tested in environments which were empty and dust-free.

Sir James Dyson
Franziska Krug | German Select | Getty Images

On Wednesday, the General Court of the European Union rejected Dyson's actions "in its entirety" as the British firm failed to demonstrate more accurate, reproducible and reliable tests, than those currently provided.

"Dyson states that the regulation misleads consumers because the cleaning performance is tested only when the vacuum cleaner's receptacle is empty and not during use. The court acknowledges that the suction performance and energy efficiency of a vacuum cleaner with a dust-loaded receptacle will be reduced due to dust accumulation," the court said.

"It observes, however, that the commission could not use tests conducted on the basis of a dust-loaded receptacle, as they are not reliable, accurate and reproducible, as required by the regulation."

Sir James Dyson, holding robot vacuum cleaner, Dyson 360 Eye.
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Sir James Dyson
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When Dyson heard about the dismissal, the vacuum brand released a statement saying it was "deplorable" that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) authorized tests which didn't try to represent in-home use, and that it is "causing consumers to be grossly misled."

"The ECJ has given its support to unrepresentative tests devised by the commission with a small group of European manufacturers which, in our view, disregards the interests of consumers in Europe."

"The judgment is all the more surprising in view of the revelations about car testing in the VW scandal where the tests do not reflect real life usage. We don't believe the ECJ is acting in the interests of consumers and (we) will continue to fight for testing and labelling," the firm said.

This is a blow for Dyson who also launched separate legal actions against German rivals Bosch and Siemens in late October, on the grounds that they were supposedly misleading customers on the testing of their products.

Dyson: Cleaning Up

Dyson claimed that both brands sold products which used control electronics to boost their motor wattage, making them appear more competent during EU efficiency tests.

"Their behavior is akin to that seen in the Volkswagen scandal. It seems that industry is rife with manufacturers engineering to find their way around tests, rather than engineering better, more efficient technology. This behavior is seriously misleading customers," British inventor, James Dyson said in October.

Following Dyson's legal proceedings announcement, BSH Hausgerate (BSH)—owner of Bosch and Siemens—announced at the end of October that it was going to initiate legal steps towards Dyson over the "unfounded and untrue" claims made.

In response to the ruling made this week, BSH Group—which was not involved in this proceeding—said it considered the EU label to be "a transparent method for informing consumers and are always guided in full by its binding conditions."

When contacted by CNBC, Dyson declined to comment on the Bosch and Siemens legal proceedings.

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.