Dyson filed the initial patent infringement suit to address what they believe was a patent infringement on a steering mechanism used in their signature vacuum cleaners. The steering mechanism was designed to make the vacuums more stable and easier to maneuver around tight spaces, like between furniture. During the lawsuit, Samsung was able to defend itself by producing prior art—examples of the idea being used before Dyson patented the technology, which would invalidate the patent.
The Dyson intellectual property lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by a judge from the United Kingdom’s High Court in November of 2013, after Samsung presented the compelling prior art, and Dyson was ordered to pay £600,000 toward Samsung’s legal costs.
Samsung is now suing Dyson because it says the British company damaged its reputation and negatively affected its marketing activities. Asserting that Dyson is a “patent troll,” a spokesman for Samsung told the Korea Times, that as a result of the “groundless” lawsuit, “Samsung’s marketing activities were negatively affected,” which the company called “intolerable” and vowed to litigate. Dyson responded by saying the company will not apologize and that it is unlikely that a company many times bigger than Dyson has been damaged by the filing of a lawsuit, beyond the cost of the litigation.
In the United States, generally, claims based upon the filing of a non-meritorious lawsuit are restricted to a claim for the cost of the litigation. Allegations of defamation based upon pleadings in a lawsuit are given a “qualified privilege,” meaning they are prohibited unless the claims are outrageous and demonstrably false.
When you have an intellectual property litigation issue or business dispute, you need a smart, experienced business litigation attorney to represent your interests. James J. “Jim” Thomas II has more than 35 years of experience advising Georgia businesses and handling complex business litigation. Jim can help you with the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation including in intellectual property disputes. Visit www.litigationatlanta.com online. or give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 to set up a free consultation.