Denner wins capsule ruling over Nespresso

Denner wins capsule ruling over Nespresso
Nespresso coffee machine. Photo: AFP
Swiss discount supermarket chain Denner can resume selling its brand of Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules across Switzerland following a ruling by a trade tribunal in the canton of Saint Gallen.

The court overturned a decision that prevented Denner, a subsidiary of retail giant Migros, from selling its capsules after Nestlé lodged a complaint over infringement of its trademarked Nespresso products.

In its ruling, made public on Tuesday, the trade tribunal said Denner’s capsules did not infringe on the trademarked product.

The judges recognized that Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, had the legal right to protect its Nespresso capsules.

However, they ruled that there was no risk of confusion between these capsules and those of Denner, according to a news release issued by the tribunal.

The legal battle between Denner and Nestlé began at the beginning of 2011 when the Vaud-based food giant launched legal action to protect its Nespresso brand, which sells four billion francs’ worth of products annually.

The multinational could appeal the tribunal’s decision to the supreme court.

But in a news release issued on Tuesday night, Nespresso said that it would not take any immediate action in response to the ruling.

The Nestlé subsidiary said the decision maintained the status quo and had no impact on the competitive environment that exists in the current (coffee capsule) market.

Nestlé has taken widespread legal action to defend its coffee capsules against competitors, such as the Ethical Coffee Company, a firm based in Fribourg and started by former Nespresso CEO Jean-Paul Gaillard.

The ECC’s capsules are provisionally banned from sale in Switzerland, following a ruling from Switzerland’s supreme court in February.

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