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Dyson Accuses Rival Bosch Of Implanting Spy To Steal Secrets

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Inventor and head of Dyson, Sir James Dyson. The British engineering company is accusing rival Bosch of using a spy to steal secrets (apn Photo/Axel Heimken) | AP

LONDON -- Vacuum powerhouse Dyson filed legal proceedings Wednesday against Bosch in Britain's High Court, accusing its German rival of having obtained corporate secrets through a mole within a high-security research and development department.

Dyson, known for its popular bagless vacuum cleaner, claims that a rogue engineer working in its facility in Malmesbury for Dyson digital motors was handing information on "secret motor technology" to Bosch for up to two years.

"Dyson has confronted Bosch with evidence of wrongdoing but it has refused to return the technology. Nor has it promised not to use the technology for its benefit, forcing Dyson to take legal action," the company said in a statement.

Dyson alleges that Bosch paid the mole through an unincorporated business created solely for that purpose and that Bosch's vice president, Wolfgang Hirschburger, was aware of the engineer's work.

Mark Taylor, Dyson Research and Development director, said that Bosch had benefited from Dyson's know-how and expertise.

"We have spent over 15 years and 100 million pounds ($160.2 million) developing high-speed brushless motors, which power our vacuum cleaners and Airblade hand dryers," he said in a statement. "We are demanding the immediate return of our intellectual property."

Bosch disputed some of the facts. It said in a statement that Dyson had employed an individual with a pre-existing consultancy agreement with Bosch Lawn and Garden Ltd. in relation to garden products – "and not vacuum cleaners or hand dryers as Dyson implies."

The company expressed regret that Dyson has pursued legal action, saying it has been trying to establish what happened and what, if any, confidential information was supposedly passed between the companies.

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