Black & Decker Manufacturing Co., continuing its aggressive policy of protecting original designs, said yesterday that it has won a federal court decision against a Hong Kong company that imported copies of its portable vacuum cleaners into the United States.
The Towson, Md., company said a jury in Salt Lake City ruled that imports by Continental Engineering Products Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong violated Black & Decker's design patents for the "Dustbuster" cordless portable vacuum and the "CarVac," a similar product aimed at the automobile market. Black & Decker said the Hong Kong firm tried to pass off its version, known as a "Turbo Duster," as a "Dustbuster."
A Black & Decker statement said the federal court is expected to issue an injunction against further imports of the Hong Kong-made counterfeit, but that the company is likely to be allowed to sell out its small inventory currently in the United States.
Black & Decker officials refused comment on the amount of damages they won in the Salt Lake City suit. But they said damages were not the major purpose of the suit.
"Our purpose was to affirm the strength of our rights in the 'Dustbuster' and 'CarVac' vacuums and this case does that very favorably," company attorneys said in a statement.
"The company is committed to defending its proprietary rights as strongly as possible. This has been our historic approach and will continue in the future," added Laurence J. Farley, Black & Decker's president and chief executive.
The company also has filed a suit against Sanyo, charging the Japanese firm with violating design patents with the version of the "Dustbuster" Sanyo is trying to sell in the United States.