EPO revokes Nestle coffee making patent

EPO revokes Nestle coffee making patent

2013/10/14

Swiss food company Nestle has said it is “disappointed” with a decision by the European Patent Office (EPO) to revoke a patent related to its coffee making machine.


The patent, EP1646305, was for a capsule extraction device in the Nespresso machine produced by the Vevey-based company.


The EPO first granted the patent, which concerns the way the Nespresso coffee capsules fit in the machines, in 2010.


It was upheld with minor modifications in April last year, but was opposed by rival parties on the grounds that the patent was not maintained in its original form.


The patent was revoked on October 10 following a decision by the EPO’s Board of Appeal.


In a statement, Nestle said it “acknowledged” the decision.


“We believe that the decision fails to recognise the unique innovations inherent in the design of the Nespresso system,” it said.


However, it added that the ruling did not have any impact on the current competitive situation.


“Nespresso has brought legal cases against producers of generic capsules, although there are currently no prohibitions on their sale based on this patent. The decision, therefore, does not change the status quo.”


The EPO decision is a setback for Nestle, which is trying to use its patents to prevent rivals from making capsules which fit into the machine.


“The protection of our IP is an important component of our business strategy,” Nestle added.


“We will await the written decision of the EPO ruling before determining next steps in the pending legal cases.”


The decision is not the first setback Nestle has experienced in its efforts to protect its Nespresso machine.


In April this year, the UK High Court ruled that manufacturer Dualit, which sells coffee pods compatible with Nespresso machines, was not infringing patents.


The EPO’s ruling covers 28 countries in Europe and it will provide a written detail of its decision in the coming weeks.


(Source: WIPR)




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