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GLOBAL – Nespresso patent revoked by EPO

The European Patent Office ( EPO ) yesterday revoked Nestle SA’s patent on its single-serve Nespresso coffee system, the latest setback for the Swiss food giant in the European $8 billion annual single-serve coffee market.

The European Patent EPO ‘s appeals board said Nestle’s patent EP1646305 for the way its coffee capsules are ejected from its Nespresso machine was invalid.

The EPO had first granted the patent in 2010 for the way the capsule fitted in Nespresso machine and was later modified in April 2011.

The modification was opposed by Nestle’s competitors who argued that the modification was just a ruse to stop consumers from using other branded coffee capsules like those of Ethical Coffee Company, Mondelez International and UK’s Dualit Ltd in Nespresso machine.

In April, the London High Court of Justice also rejected Nestle’s suit of trying to block Dualit from selling its coffee pods to customers using its Nespresso machine. (See: Nestle loses Nespresso refill patent infringement lawsuit against UK’s Dualit)

Judge Richard Arnold ruled that customers using Nespresso machines are entitled to buy coffee capsules from any source they please, including from Dualit.

The ruling came eight months after German and Swiss courts also rejected Nestle’s plea to ban the sale of unlicensed coffee capsules that are used on its Nespresso machines in their respective countries.

Nespresso capsules are made and sold exclusively by Nespresso and cost three times more than those of rivals or loose ground coffee.

Other companies that make refill capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines are Ethical Coffee, Swiss retailer Migros and Dutch coffee maker D E Master Blenders.

Source: domain-b.com