Judge Rules Rival Vacuum Makers Can Compete
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Similar ″stick″ model vacuum cleaners made by two of the industry’s heavyweights should be allowed to compete against each other in appliance stores, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca said Wednesday that ordering one company to stop selling its model would ″unduly hinder competition.″
Regina Co., of Rahway, N.J., filed the lawsuit claiming that Hoover Co., of North Canton, Ohio, was trying to ″palm off″ a copycat stick model vacuum cleaner.
Regina officials said Hoover’s Quik Broom II was ″confusingly similar″ to the Regina Electrikbroom and asked Telesca to prevent the company from marketing them.
Telesca agreed that the two vacuums were similar in appearance and that consumers could be confused, but he said the features in question were functional characteristics of the type of vacuum cleaner. Company officials declined to comment on the outcome and continued to refuse to say why the lawsuit was filed in Rochester, which was only mentioned as a place both machines were sold.
According to court papers, Regina has been in the stick vacuum market since the 1930s and holds about 40 to 50 percent of the market. Earlier this year, Hoover announced that it intended to increase its share of that market from 15 percent to 40 percent.
Hoover has made stick vacuum cleaners for several years, court documents said.