German family business Bosch, one of Europe’s largest companies by revenues, has been accused of stealing secret technology from a UK rival, but has denied the allegations.
British appliance group Dyson has filed legal proceedings, claiming Bosch – a manufacturing and engineering firm – placed a mole in its company, who has allegedly been passing on secrets to Bosch for up to two years.
Fully owned by founder Sir James Dyson, the Wiltshire-based group reckons the designs of a new kind of motor it is developing – used in its vacuum cleaners and fans – have been passed on to Bosch.
But Bosch, controlled by the eponymous family, has denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement that it “regrets that Dyson has chosen to issue legal proceedings”.
It added: “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.”
Dyson, famous for making bagless vacuum cleaners, did not reveal when the alleged spy was discovered.
Bosch, which had 2011 revenues of €51.5 billion, is well known not just for its household appliances, but also for manufacturing garden and building tools, and auto parts such as brakes.
Set up in 1886 by Robert Bosch, the group is 92% owned by the family foundation, 7% by descendants of the founder and 1% by the company.
It ranked 10th on CampdenFB’s 2012 list of the top 100 family businesses in Europe.