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May 2005 send to a friend printable version

Sharper Image pays $525,000 to end lawsuit against CU

Sharper Image Corp. has ended a product-disparagement lawsuit that it brought against Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, paying CU court-ordered attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $525,000.

Sharper Image sued after Consumer Reports judged the company’s Ionic Breeze Quadra air cleaner “ineffective” in an October 2003 report. A U.S. District Court dismissed the suit, ruling that Sharper Image had not shown our findings to be false. Because Sharper Image’s claims affected CR’s rights of free speech and press, the court ordered the company to pay our legal expenses. Sharper Image filed an appeal but later withdrew it, ending the legal action.

“Sharper Image’s decision to withdraw its appeal puts an end to a lawsuit that should never have been filed, over reviews that were truthful, carefully researched, and fairly stated,” said Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union. “This is a victory for every American concerned about the rights of an unbiased organization to test products independently, and to speak out in the interest of product performance and quality.”

WINTER 2007 UPDATE: In January 2007, a proposed settlement was announced in a class action that challenged claims made by the Sharper Image about the performance, effectiveness, and safety of some of the company’s Ionic Breeze air purifiers. Click here for more information on the settlement.