James Bond, sorry, Dyson, caught up in spy scandal

Posted by Emma Woollacott

With the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, due to open in British theaters tomorrow, another spy is stealing all the attention in the murky but glamorous world of vacuum cleaners.

Inventor Sir James Dyson - known as 'D' to his intimates - says that a worker in its digital motors facility has been outed as a mole passing company secrets to rival manufacturer Bosch.

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

The technology concerned relates to a rocket car - oops, to a high-speed brushless motor used in vacuum cleaners and hand dryers. Dyson claims it took 15 years and £100 million to develop.

And the company says it's discovered the mastermind behind the spying: Bosch vice president for engineering Dr Wolfgang Hirschburger. Known for his love of white cats, he presumably wanted some way of dealing with all the hair on the carpets.

Bosch, though, is calling the whole affair a cyclone in a teacup.

"Dyson employed an individual with 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," the company tells the Guardian.

"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."

The appropriate way, of course, being a car chase followed by a good fight.