Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Patent dispute

Ethical Coffee Company scores victory against Nespresso

The European Patent Office (EPO) has rejected a request by Nespresso to revoke a patent owned by the Ethical Coffee Company (ECC), which is now calling for the halt of sales of infringing Nespresso machines in Germany.

Following the decision of the Munich-based EPO on Thursday, the ECC, which specialises in biodegradable single-serving coffee capsules, has filed actions against Nespresso Deutschland GmbH and others to stop the sale of certain Nespresso machines in Germany, and to demand compensation for damages incurred.

In 2010, the ECC accused Nespresso of introducing a mechanism into its coffee machines that makes them incompatible with the ECC’s own biodegradable capsules. 

However, the ECC holds the intellectual property rights to this mechanism, and had secured them “in anticipation of such a move”, said ECC president Jean-Paul Gaillard in a statement on Thursday. Gaillard is the former director of Nespresso.

For its part, Nespresso expressed its disappointment in a statement, and said it plans to appeal the decision.

While the EPO verdict is non-binding, it could advance claims made by the ECC against Nestlé, Nespresso’s parent company, currently underway in France, Belgium and Switzerland that had been suspended in expectation of Thursday’s verdict. Altogether, the ECC’s claims are estimated to amount to CHF2 billion ($2.1 billion).

swissinfo.ch and agencies


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.