The Nespresso capsules : end of trademark protection for Nestlé ?

Nespresso, one of the brands of company Nestlé, has established a strong market position with its coffee machines and compatible capsules. These capsules have been strongly protected by patents over the years.

Nestlé’s patents lapsed however in 2001, leaving golden opportunities for competitors to create their own compatible capsules.

Therefore, Nespresso applied for an international registration of the capsules as a three-dimensional trademark. This trademark, registered under No. 763699, has been renewed in the Benelux in 2011 for another 10 years until July 2021.



IR. No.763699


Although Nespresso still claimed protection for its capsules, many of its competitors started to create their own compatible capsules, which Nespresso tried to block by using its rights over the registered three-dimensional trademark. According to the De Tijd, it now seems that Nespresso will have to store its weapons. 

As De Tijd reports, one of the competitors, Mondelez-Kraft, brought a case before the Court of Commerce in Brussels on 19 November 2013, in order to annul the international trademark registration of Nespresso’s capsules, using the argument that “a sign shall not be registered as a trade mark if it consists exclusively of the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result”.

The Brussels’ Court of Commerce followed Mondelez-Kraft’s opinion and annulled Nestlé’s trademark protection over its capsules by decision of 24 March 2014.

The reasoning was based on general Case law of the European Court of Justice, which states that “the main purpose of the prohibition on registration as a trademark of any sign consisting of the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result is to prevent trade mark law granting an undertaking a monopoly on technical solutions or functional characteristics of a product”. This means that undertakings may not use trade mark law in order to perpetuate, indefinitely, exclusive rights relating to technical solutions.

Nestlé did not agree with this decision and filed an appeal. The Brussels’ court of appeal however now confirmed the first decision on 4 November 2016. This decision seem to have been closely kept under the radar until now.

Competitors will now, since Nestlé’s trademark protection has also been taken from its capsules, certainly grab the opportunity to create capsules which are compatible with the famous Nespresso machines.

“Nespresso. What else?” There is no doubt we will soon find out. 

Related : KOAN ( Mrs. Christine De Keersmaeker ,  Ms. Isabelle Verschueren )


Mrs. Christine De Keersmaeker Mrs. Christine De Keersmaeker
Ms. Isabelle Verschueren Ms. Isabelle Verschueren

Click here to see the ad(s)
All articles Intellectual property law

Lastest articles Intellectual property law

To what extent can artists use trademarks in their works?

The Benelux Court of Justice (“BCJ”), an international court composed of magistrates from the highest courts o...

Read more

Parodie binnen de modewereld

Mode-ontwerpers halen vaak hun inspiratie uit het verleden of uit bestaande trends en geven daar hun persoonlijke “t...

Parodie binnen de modewereld Read more

Week van de bedrijfsoverdracht | Intellectuele eigendomsrechten en privacy bij bedrijfsovernames:...

Dikwijls vormen de intellectuele eigendomsrechten (IP) de meest waardevolle actiefbestanddelen van een onderneming. Vaak i...

Week van de bedrijfsoverdracht | Intellectuele eigendomsrechten en privacy bij bedrijfsovernames: belangrijkste aandachtspunten Read more

Opgelet met “abandonware”, zorg steeds voor een licentie

Je wil graag dat spel uit 1989 op Commodore of Atari nog eens spelen, maar die console ben je natuurlijk al lang kwijt. Ge...

Read more

Lastest articles by Mrs. Christine De Keersmaeker

Lastest articles by Ms. Isabelle Verschueren

LexGO Network