The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has reportedly ruled in Nestlé SA’s favor in an intellectual property dispute with a competitor, which was selling a singleserve coffee “capsule” that fits in Nestlé’s Nespresso® machines and is allegedly the same shape as Nestlé’s patented product. Rival Denner was apparently allowed to return its coffee capsules to store shelves after a lower court withdrew a preliminary injunction that Nestlé won in January 2011. According to a news source, the Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court to give Nestlé the opportunity to prove that capsules of different shapes can be used in its machines. A Denner spokesperson indicated that the company intends to continue selling its capsule and that it will show the court that capsules must conform to a certain shape to fit the machines properly.
Nestlé has apparently challenged other companies trying to enter the lucrative single-serve coffee market; lawsuits against Sara Lee and the Ethical Coffee Co. are pending in France and the Netherlands. See BeverageDaily.com, June 30, 2011.