| Switzerland

Nespresso and Peet’s Coffee end trademark dispute

Lawsuit filed in March 2022 alleged that California-based Peet’s Coffee had sought false association with Nespresso and caused confusion among consumers with its coffee pod advertising

Nespresso alleged Peet’s Coffee had caused confusion among consumers due to its pod design | Photo credit: Jesper Brouwers


Coffee pod giant Nespresso has agreed to end its trademark lawsuit with US coffee chain Peet’s Coffee over the design of its coffee pods. 

The lawsuit filed in March 2022 alleged that Peet’s Coffee had sought a false association with Nespresso by mimicking the company’s ‘cone-like’ trade dress. The Nestlé subsidiary also asserted that California-based Peet’s Coffee had caused confusion among consumers by improperly advertising its pods as compatible with Nespresso machines. 

The two organisations have been working to finalise a settlement since August 2023 and have now requested a Manhattan federal court dismiss the case with prejudice, which means it cannot be refiled. 

A Nespresso spokesperson told Reuters that the companies had agreed to ‘amicably resolve’, although details of the settlement have yet to be disclosed. 

Nespresso has been seeking to prevent replication of its pod design and system compatibility since most patents protecting its ownership of the capsule concept expired in 2012. 

The business has initiated legal disputes with competitors in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, most notably with Ethical Coffee Company in 2011 – a Swiss coffee pod company founded by former Nespresso CEO Jean-Paul Gaillard. 

Ethical Coffee Company successfully counter-claimed against the trademark infringement lawsuit. 

More recently, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled against a bid by Nespresso in September 2021 to trademark the shape of its coffee capsules, stating the company’s design had an ‘ordinary’ and ‘unmemorable’ shape. 

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