German Federal Patent Court declares Nespresso’s capsules patent invalid

by Axel P Ringelhann

On 12 February 2015, the 2nd Division of the German Federal Patent Court decided on an appeal by the Swiss company Ethical Coffee Company in the ‘Nespresso case’.

The appellant markets coffee capsules compatible with the ‘Nespresso’ system for which Nestec SA (‘Nespresso’) holds the European Patent 1 646 305. The patent at issue consists of ‘an apparatus for extracting a cartridge’, coffee machines equipped with such a mechanism, and a combination of such a device and capsules.

Numerous legal disputes with respect to the aforementioned patent, both in Germany as well as abroad, have been – and still are – discussed at Court. In a similar case in the UK, in 2013 J Arnold held in Nestec v Dualit  the majority of Nestec’s patent claims invalid due to lack of novelty and found Dualit – a company which produced and marketed capsules similar to those of Nestec – not to have committed any act of infringement.

Also in the case at hand the deciding Court declared Nespresso’s patent invalid. The decision has not been published yet.

Axel P Ringelhann
Assistant Editor, QMJIP