Nestle Has Patent For Nespresso System Revoked - Information portal

Nestle Has Patent For Nespresso System Revoked

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14.10.2013 Количество просмотров 1362 views
NespressoA European regulatory body revoked a Nestle SA patent covering its Nespresso coffee system, the latest blow to the Swiss food giant's efforts to protect its lucrative brand from encroaching rivals.

The European Patent Office's appeals board said Nestle's patent for a device that handles coffee capsules as they sit in the Nespresso machine was invalid and will detail its reasons in the next few weeks. The patent covered the way capsules are ejected from the machine after being used.

The EPO decision is a setback for Nestle, which is trying to use its patents to prevent rivals, such as Ethical Coffee Company SA and Mondelez International Inc., from producing capsules that fit into the Nespresso machine. So far, those efforts have had mixed results.

"We believe that the decision fails to recognize the unique innovations inherent in the design of the Nespresso system," the company said in a statement. Nestle said the decision was unlikely to affect its Nespresso business.

Nespresso is one of Nestle's fastest-growing brands and racks up an estimated 4.5 billion Swiss francs ($4.96 billion) in annual sales. That success has attracted competitors, who want a slice of a business that carries higher margins than instant coffee and is growing at a faster rate.

As a result, Nespresso sales growth momentum decelerated to 16% in 2012 from nearly 29% in 2009, according to estimates by Bank Vontobel.

The EPO decision isn't the first setback Nestle has experienced in its efforts to protect Nespresso. In April, a British court ruled that Dualit, a U.K. manufacturer that sells coffee pods compatible with Nespresso machines was not infringing patents.

Last year, a court in Dusseldorf rejected an attempt by Nestle to stop Ethical Coffee Company from selling Nespresso-compatible capsules in Germany.

The EPO's decision is final and covers 28 countries in Europe.
Source:  WSJ

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