Dyson accuses Chinese spy of selling design secrets to Bosch

Vacuum maker says Bosch vice president received emails from mole at its Wiltshire research facility

LAST UPDATED AT 08:47 ON Thu 25 Oct 2012

BAGLESS vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson has claimed that German rival Bosch paid a spy to steal secrets from its high security advanced motor research facility in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Lawyers for the company, established by the entrepreneur and inventor Sir James Dyson, have filed papers at the High Court demanding the return of the secret documents.

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

The mole is thought to be Chinese, according to The Independent, and has worked at Dyson for two years while allegedly being paid a total of £11,500 by Bosch through an unincorporated business account.

Dyson claims that secrets regarding its high-speed brushless motors, used in Airblade hand dryers and vacuum cleaners, were passed to Bosch and its Chinese motor manufacturer and that a company vice president, Dr Wolfgang Hirschburger, received emails from the mole.

Bosch has denied spying on Dyson, saying that the British company had simply employed a person who had "a pre-existing consultancy agreement with Bosch Lawn and Garden Limited in relation to garden products, and not vacuum cleaners or hand dryers as Dyson implies".

In a statement, the German company said: "Bosch has sought to establish the full details of what occurred, including attempting to establish from Dyson what, if any, confidential information supposedly passed between Bosch and Dyson.

"Bosch regrets that Dyson has chosen to issue legal proceedings and a press statement at this stage, but will continue to act in the appropriate way." · 

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