Dyson awarded $16 million in damages over false advertising claims by rival vacuum maker

by Meagan Martin Powers

A jury in Illinois has awarded the vacuum manufactured Dyson more than $16 million in damages in a lawsuit over a rival company’s false advertising claims. The lawsuit – filed against SharkNinja Operating – alleged that the rival manufacturer had falsely claimed that its Rotator Powered Lift-Away vacuum performed better than a vacuum manufactured by Dyson.

According to the lawsuit, SharkNinja ran a series of advertisements in 2014 which claimed that the company’s Lift-Away vacuum performed better at carpet cleaning than Dyson’s DC65 vacuum model. The ads cited tests which purported that the “Rotator Powered Lift-Away has more suction and deep-cleans carpets better than Dyson’s best vacuum.” Dyson said that because these tests did not meet industry standards, SharkNinja’s claims about the performance of the Lift-Away vacuum were misleading.

Dyson also alleged that while the ads purported to show test results conducted by the independent product testing company Intertek Group PLC, a graph that accompanied the ads actually showed results from internal tests conducted by SharkNinja. Attorneys for SharkNinja told the Illinois federal jury hearing the case that the graph showing the internal data had accidentally been left on the ads as a placeholder until the company received data from the Intertek Group.

Dyson also accused SharkNinja of trying to rig Intertek’s testing in order to achieve a more favorable result for its vacuums by directing the testing company on how to use the products. SharkNinja argued that these instructions were provided because the directions in the Lift-Away vacuum’s manual was unclear. However, during closing arguments, Dyson attorneys pointed to deposition testimony from SharkNinja executives who had stated that they did not think the vacuum’s manual was unclear.

The Illinois jury who heard the case sided with Dyson’s claims that SharkNinja had been intentionally misleading in its claims about the performance of its Lift-Away vacuum. The jury awarded Dyson $16 million in damages – nearly all of the $18 million in profits SharkNinja earned from the Lift-Away vacuum during the period that the advertisements in question were running.

Commercial Litigation Disputes Handled by Heygood, Orr & Pearson

Companies who are facing potential legal action over allegations of false advertising – or who themselves have been subject to false ad claims by another company – need attorneys with background in commercial litigation to provide experienced legal counsel and ensure their interests are fully represented.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson has represented some of the largest corporations in the world as well as small “mom and pop” businesses caught in a fight with huge multinational conglomerates. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of commercial litigation cases involving damages ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to tens of millions. Our law firm has the legal experience to guide our clients through class action cases, MDLs, and other complex litigation from beginning to end.

If you or your company is in need of legal representation in a commercial dispute or answers to your legal concerns, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following this link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.

by Meagan Martin Powers

Meagan Martin Powers is a licensed attorney and partner at HO&P who focuses her practice on commercial litigation, bankruptcy and creditor’s rights matters, and small business legal advisory.