Sharper Image, “Consumer Reports” Face Off in Court

San Francisco-based cataloger/retailer Sharper Image wants to clear the air over what it says is inaccurate and misleading editorial content published in “Consumer Reports” magazine–and on Friday it went to court to do so.

In a federal lawsuit, Sharper Image accused the magazine’s owner, Consumers Union, of publishing inaccurate information pertaining to the marketer’s Ionic Breeze Silent Air Purifier. Consumers Union stands by its report, which found that the device produced “almost no measurable reduction in airborne particles.” Federal judge Maxine Chesney began hearing the case this past Friday.

According to published reports, Consumers Union attorney Steven Williams told the court, “If it’s accurate and it portrays you in a bad light, that’s too bad,” He added that, in the publisher’s comparison to other air purifiers, “Their product performed worse than all the others.” Consumers Union asked the judge to dismiss the case.

Reports also said that E. Robert Wallach, the attorney for Sharper Image, told the judge that the two articles about the air purifier published by “Consumer Reports” in 2002 and 2003 were “incomplete, inaccurate, and at times very misleading.”

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