12 December 2017Trademarks

German court annuls Nespresso shape mark

The Bundespatentgericht, Germany’s Federal Patent Court, has annulled a 3D trademark owned by Swiss food company Nestlé.

On Friday, December 8, the Bundespatentgericht announced that it had annulled a shape mark for the Nespresso coffee capsule covering coffee in mid-November.

The Nespresso machine uses the coffee capsules.

The Patent Court found that the essential characteristics of the trademark conformed with the drawings of the external features of German patent DE 27,52,733, covering a cartridge for ground coffee, and were all essential to fulfil a technical result.

Under article 3(2)(2) of the German Trade Mark Act, which corresponds to article 4(1)(2)(ii) of Directive 2008/95/EC, the mark was invalid because it was a sign which consisted “exclusively of the shape” of the goods necessary to obtain a technical result.

The written reasons for the decision have not yet been published.

In October 2013, WIPR reported that the European Patent Office had revoked a patent for a capsule extraction device for the Nespresso machine.

And, in February 2015, the German Patent Court ruled that a patent for a mechanism in Nestlé’s coffee machine was invalid, according to Reuters.

Switzerland-based Ethical Coffee Company had brought that claim, which alleged that a new mechanism in Nespresso machines stopped its capsules from working properly in the coffee machines.

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More on this story

11 October 2013   Swiss consumer goods company Nestle has said it is “disappointed” with a decision by the European Patent Office to revoke a patent related to its coffee making machine.
18 March 2022   Nespresso has sued rival Peet’s Coffee, alleging that the Californian company infringes its trademarked coffee capsules.