NESPRESSO AND PEET’S
Nespresso USA Inc, the U.S. branch of the worldwide famous coffee manufacturer, recently sued the chain Peet's Coffee for infringement over its coffee capsules.
The legal dispute started in 2018, when Peet’s launched these capsules. Since then, Nespresso has allegedly demanded the defendant to stop infringing, to no avail.
As many other capsules present in the market, the capsules commercialised by Peet’s are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines, as indicated in the packaging.
However, Nespresso claimed that the design, the opaque colour and the shape of the Peet’s coffee capsules can be misleading for consumers. Especially, the “frustoconical” shape is extremely similar to the original Nespresso capsules, that can lead consumers to think they are purchasing the original Nespresso capsules.
As stated in the lawsuit, “the opaque colour, frustoconical top portion, angled and straight sides connecting to the flange of the capsule, circular bottom, and inverted frustoconical indentation at the top of Defendant’s Infringing Capsule appear identical in diameter, height, and width, and confusingly similar in overall appearance, to the Original NESPRESSO Capsule”.
Now the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will have to assess whether or not the similarity of the Peet’s Coffee capsules infringes Nespresso’s design and if it is likely to cause confusion among consumers, as the company claims.
If you want to know more about previous legal disputes involving Nespresso, check our previous article!
CHAMPAGNE vs CHAMPANILLO
The Provincial Court of Barcelona (Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona) has ruled in favour of the Interprofessional Champagne wines Committee, the French association in charge of protecting the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) “Champagne”.
The legal dispute started in 2016, when the Champagne Committee took legal actions against Champanillo, a tapas bar chain from Barcelona, as they considered that the bar’s name was extremely similar to the PDO “Champagne”.
At first instance, the Barcelona Commercial Court dismissed the Champagne Committee’s claims.
The French association raised an appeal against this decision, and at second instance, the Provincial Court of Barcelona asked the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJE) to issue a preliminary ruling as regards the interpretation of Article 13(1)(b) of Regulation 510/2006 (current Regulation 1151/2012) and Article 103(2)(b) of Regulation 1308/2013, in relation to the use of the term “Champanillo” for restaurant services. Pursuant to those articles, any misuse, imitation or evocation of a PDO shall be prohibited.
In its preliminary ruling, the CJE stated that the protection of the PDOs must be extended to the goods and services other than the ones designated, in order to restrain these products from taking unfair advantage of the PDO’s reputation.
Following the CJE’s decision, the Court concluded that the term Champanillo could be understood as an evocation of the PDO Champagne, and therefore there was a risk that the average consumer could associate it with the PDO. Champanillo not only included part of the PDO into its name, but also the logo appearing in its advertisements consisted in two pompadour glasses (specifical glasses for champagne), which may evocate even more the PDO Champagne.
Therefore, the use of the term “Champanillo” constitutes an infringement of the PDO Champagne and a misappropriation of its reputation. As a consequence, the defendant was ordered to stop using the above-mentioned term. The ruling urged the Catalan chain to retire advertisements and remove the social media accounts related to Champanillo.
We will see if Champanillo will lodge an appeal against this decision!
- Publication date
- 31 March 2022
- European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency