Swiss food giant Nestle SA today lost a patent infringement lawsuit on its Nespresso machine refill capsule bought on against Dualit Ltd, a small British manufacturer of coffee pods.
The Vevey-based company had approached the London High Court of Justice seeking to block Dualit from selling its coffee pods to customers using its Nespresso machine.
Judge Richard Arnold ruled that customers using Nespresso machines are entitled to buy coffee capsules from any source they please, including from Dualit.
The ruling came eight months after German and Swiss courts also rejected Nestle's plea to ban the sale of unlicensed coffee capsules that are used on its Nespresso machines in their respective countries. Nestle is also fighting a similar legal battle against Ethical Coffee Co in Paris.
Founded in 1946 by the German-born British inventor Max Gort-Barten, West Sussex-based Dualit makes kitchen and catering equipment, but is best known for its range of heavy-duty toasters, coffee machines and capsules.
Nespresso capsules are made and sold exclusively by Nespresso and cost three times more than those of rivals or loose ground coffee.
Other companies that make refill capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines are Ethical Coffee, Swiss retailer Migros and Dutch coffee maker D E Master Blenders.
Nespresso products generated around $4.2 billion of Nestle's overall revenue of $97.7 billion in 2012.