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Nespresso and Peet’s Agree to Settle Capsule Trademark Suit

Single-use coffee capsules

Single-use coffee capsules. Pixabay photo.

Lawyers on behalf of Nestlé-owned Nespresso and California-based Peet’s Coffee say they have come to a settlement agreement in a 19-month copyright infringement case regarding coffee pods.

In a joint request for voluntary dismissal of the case sent to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon of the New York Southern District yesterday, attorneys representing both companies request dismissal “without prejudice” while also agreeing to bear their own costs and attorneys’ fees.

The terms of the proposed settlement have not been disclosed. Spokespersons representing each of the companies shared the following statement with DCN: 

“Nespresso and Peet’s agreed to amicably resolve and dismiss all claims and counterclaims in their federal lawsuit concerning single-serve espresso capsules, as well as Peet’s opposition to Nespresso’s trade dress application in connection with the shape of single-serve espresso capsules. Nespresso and Peet’s cannot further comment on that resolution.”

Nespresso USA, the plaintiff in the case, did not immediately reply to DCN’s request for comment. 

This morning, the court asked plaintiff’s attorney A. John P. Mancini to refile the joint dismissal document because it was not properly signed, according to court documents.

The legal confrontation between the two coffee giants began percolating since at least July 2018, when Peet’s launched a line of capsules that were compatible with the original Nespresso single-cup brewer, according to court documents.

Nespresso USA filed the trademark infringement suit in March 2022, arguing that the “frustoconical” geometric design of the pods and other elements of the products’ branding was duping customers into thinking the product was from Nespresso.

In initially requesting a dismissal, Peet’s denied that the capsule design remained protected by trademark, while also suggesting the name Nespresso has come to represent a “category of single-serve espresso systems, machines, and capsules.”

[Note: This story has been updated to include a statement provided by Peet’s and Nespresso.]

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