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NESTLÉ* LOSES MONOPOLY ON NESCAFÉ DOLCE GUSTO* CAPSULES
16 July 2016
The Portuguese Intellectual Property Court has rejected an injunction brought by Société des Produits Nestlé, S.A. (Nestlé)* to prevent Bicafé - Torrefacção e Comércio de Café, Lda (Bicafé) from producing and marketing coffee capsules compatible with the beverage extraction system marketed under the brand name Nescafé Dolce Gusto* (the Nescafé Dolce Gusto system).
Nestlé* claimed that the capsule compatible with the Nescafé Dolce Gusto* system developed, produced and marketed by Bicafé infringed intellectual property rights arising from a patent that it holds and also that Bicafé was marketing the capsule in violation of the honest trade practices and thus acting in unfair competition.
After the trial the Portuguese Intellectual Property Court concluded that the capsule compatible with the Nescafé Dolce Gusto* system developed, produced and marketed by Bicafé incorporates an innovative technical solution that does not infringe the exclusive rights claimed by Nestlé and decided that Bicafé is free to continue producing and marketing the capsule.
As far as Bicafé knows, this is the first decision of a Court from European Union to recognize to a competitor of Nestlé* the right to produce and market a capsule compatible with the Nescafé Dolce Gusto* system, ending the monopoly promoted by Nestlé* and thus forcing it to face competition, as currently occurs in the market for capsules compatible with the Nespresso* system, also marketed by Nestlé*.
Throughout the legal proceeding Bicafé has been informed that Nestlé* was pressuring wholesalers and retailers, referring that the capsule developed, produced and marketed by Bicafé infringed intellectual property rights that it holds.
The Court has now clarified that Bicafé's capsule does not infringe any rights hold by Nestlé, being a competitive and lawful alternative to consumers.