Nestle Wins Legal Battle over Coffee Capsules

Nestle Wins Legal Battle over Coffee Capsules

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The ease of coffee capsules are quite the trend these days, and Nestle makes sure that it’s hold on this market sector isn’t hindered in several countries.

Nestle has won a court appeal against a Swiss discounter making coffee capsules as it pursues legal action to protect its Nespresso brand in several countries.

This week the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Swiss food giant, sending a case against the Swiss discounter Denner back to a lower court. Nestle claims Denner’s coffee capsules violate its trademarks as they are the same shape as its Nespresso brand’s own offerings.

In March, Denner had been allowed to put its coffee capsules back on shelves, overturning a previous court decision in January. But now, because Nestle had not been given an opportunity to demonstrate that different shapes of capsule can be used in its machines, the Supreme Court is sending the case back.

Fighting under the legal banner of intellectual property protection, Nestle is fighting to defend Nespresso – one its fastest growing businesses (20 per cent sales growth in 2010).

Nespresso spokesperson Julian Liew said: “We are satisfied with this week’s ruling by the Swiss Federal Court. We are currently assessing its implications and will draw appropriate conclusions after due consideration.”

Liew added that the case is about the protection of its intellectual property which is the result of 25 years of R&D work.

But Denner said that the legal battle is not over yet. A spokesperson for the discounter said it is continuing to sell its coffee capsules following the Supreme Court decision and will continue to defend its products. She added that, contrary to what Nestle claims, capsules must be a certain shape to fit in the Nespresso machines.

Other cases

The Swiss case is not the only one Nestle is fighting to defend its Nespresso products. Liew said it is pursuing legal action in the Netherlands and France against Sara Lee and ECC (Ethical Coffee Co.)

The legal cases have all started up since the end of the last year and come as the market for single serve coffee explodes in Europe and North America.

Liew said single size portions of coffee accounted for 8 per cent of global coffee volume in 2010, up from 7 per cent the year before.

The market offers both high growth and wide margins so it is no surprise that the number of competitors has increased significantly and now stands at around 40, according to Nespresso.





– Beverage Daily

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