After its request for provisional measures for patent infringement was thrown out by the Court of Appeal in Düsseldorf in 2013, the Nestlé Group (Nestec SA) is withdrawing its action against Ethical Coffee Company (ECC). The latter's victory draws a final line under Nestlé's attempts to have the marketing of ECC's coffee pods in Germany banned. A decision is also expected very soon in Switzerland.
Fribourg, 7 January 2014. The withdrawal of the claim against Ethical Coffee Company by Nestec, the German subsidiary belonging to the Nestlé Group, represents a major victory for the manufacturers of Nespresso-compatible capsules, especially for ECC, which was a pioneer in this field. Nestlé's abandonment of the case in Germany validates the August 2012 ruling by the Düsseldorf District Court, which had decided in favour of ECC after Nestlé accused it of patent infringement. The Düsseldorf court found that a consumer's use of another manufacturer's capsules did not constitute patent infringement, as the pods were not the key component of Nespresso machines and did not, in this context, meet the conditions for being regarded as an invention.
This defeat for Nestlé in Germany will enable ECC to relaunch and broaden its sales operation in the country, and German consumers will be able to continue to enjoy coffee in capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines while being not only of very high quality but also fully biodegradable and 30% cheaper.
"This action, which is presented by Nestlé as positive, is only hiding its willingness to protect its reputation, notably among the financial community. The evidence is that activities to limit competition continue. In reality, Nestlé is wearing itself out with rearguard actions that it always ends up losing," commented ECC's CEO, Jean-Paul Gaillard, "when what really matters is the public's right to consume what they want in a market that's clearly open to free competition.”
“We can only rejoice, then, at this positive development in Germany, and hope for a similar outcome for Swiss consumers and in the other countries in which Nestlé continues to attack ECC, thus trying to limit consumers in their free choice. Gladly, we are ready and prepared for this, as our capsules work perfectly well in the Nespresso machines”, M. Gaillard concluded.
About Ethical Coffee Company
Ethical Coffee Company, founded by Jean-Paul Gaillard, Nespresso's ex-CEO, has – in France since 2010 and in more and more European countries since 2011 – developed and marketed patented and biodegradable coffee capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines. Its innovatively packaged capsules have proved themselves to be equal in quality to their competitors or even better.
Ethical Coffee Company's brand values are care for the environment, technological innovation and the search for authenticity.
For more information, see the products on our web site www.ecologicing.com or contact www.ethicalcoffeecompany.com