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Vacuum Smackdown: Dyson Sues Bissell for False Advertising

Don’t mess with a man who has cyclonic suction on his side. James Dyson‘s global empire of highly engineered, sleekly designed sucking and blowing devices is taking on its chief competitor for the U.S. marketplace–in court. Dyson Inc. claims that Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Bissell Homecare Inc. has been falsely advertising its range of (less expensive) upright vacuums as containing technology that “captures over 99.9 percent” of allergens. Dyson has long boasted that its machines are singular in their “constant powerful suction, high dust removal, the ability to capture allergens, expel cleaner air, do not have dusty bags to empty and are certified asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.” The company has gone so far as to trademark the phrase “asthma & allergy friendly.”

Dyson commissioned independent lab testing of the rival vacs and surveyed watery-eyed, sniffling consumers, while Bissell tried to clear the air by affixing stickers to its machines in an attempt to clarify that the ragweed and pollen trapping was actually done by filters, not the machines themselves. Dyson didn’t blink (or sneeze, for that matter) and is pressing its case in U.S. district court in Illinois. Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan cleared the way for the case to proceed in a summary judgment issued Friday. Will Dyson’s lawyers blow away the defense team? Will Bissell choke on its promises of wallet-friendly vacuums that improve respiratory health? Will the arguments of both sides suck? Stay tuned, floorcare fans.

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