Nestlé loses coffee capsule battle in Germany

  Nestlé has lost a bid in attempt to stop rival companies from selling generic coffee capsules compatible with Nespresso machines, Bloomberg News reported. The announcement on 16 August in Germany came after a Düsseldorf regional court ruled that Nestlé’s coffee machines do not prevent consumers from using other capsules, and that the capsules were not the key component or a “special feature” of the protected invention. “We are convinced of the power of our legal arguments and will thus take further steps to defend our intellectual property,” Holger Feldmann, Managing Director of Nestlé’s German Nespresso unit, said in a statement. The company has suits against Ethical Coffee and Betron, who are selling capsules that say they are “usable for Nespresso machines” at prices that are as much as a third cheaper than the Nestlé capsules, the court said. D.E Master Blenders 1753 also poses competition to Nespresso, and seek to sell single-serve capsules that can be used with Nespresso machines. Master Blenders markets its L’Or capsules in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, while Ethical Coffee’s capsules are available in 10 countries including Austria and Germany. Nestlé can ask to hear the case under full civil-trial process in an effort to appeal the ruling or get a different decision.

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