January 19, 2005

Coffee Pod Makers Face Potential Patent Issues

PodsincuffsWendy wrote us in from Typical Dutch Stuff regarding a pending patent dispute Douwe Egberts (they make the Senseo pods) and how it may affect 3rd party pod manufacturers at least in Europe. It seems that Douwe Egberts have the patent on pods or the process of the pod holder and pods of the 62 mm size (not the other pods like ESE - etc). If they can make it hold up in court, 3rd party manufacturers would likely have to stop making pods for the Senseo.

We will keep you posted on how this develops and maybe my dutch will get even better!

From Wendy at Typical Dutch Stuff:

"I'm the owner of www.typicaldutchstuff.com , and have been referred to your website by one of our customers. First I need to say that you have a great website with loads of information to be found. I'm actually contacting you because of an interesting fact. Here in Holland, and in a lot of other different countries, there are a lot of different companies producing coffee pods which are cheaper or different from the original Senseo pods. Well, this might be coming to a stop, as Douwe Egberts has the official patent to produce these pods (and pod holders), and they have taken this up to court. This could mean that other producers will not be able to make those pods, which obviously creates a large market just for Senseo/Douwe Egberts (so Kanis & Gunnink can also pack their bags). I don't know if this also applies to foreign brands (Kona, or other 'homemade pods'), but I think it does, as a patent is a patent, and is valid worldwide. I personally hope that the court does not grant the sole patent to them, because this means that there is no competition, and they can crank up the prices as much as they want too. I thought that this could be interesting for your readers to know.

Original source (in Dutch): http://www.nu.nl/news.jsp?n=470102&c=30 They expect to hear something in this year."

Translated Article & Link: Coffee path its valid patent of Douwe Egberts

"Last modified: 18 January 2005 20.22
UTRECHT - the coffee path and the holder Senseo-koffiezetapparaten well-known in are an invention of Douwe Egberts . That the European patent office in Munich has concluded Tuesday.

The Dutch judge had asked the office pronounce a sentence concerning the validity of the patent which has Douwe Egberts (DE) on the combination of path and path holder. Douwe Egberts have been involved in floor procedures against Dutch, Belgian and German manufacturers of the coffee path. "this pronouncement strengthens our, and enables our continue the procedures", explained for the of.

After the introduction of Senseo-koffiezetapparaat in 2001 came a number of producers with their own fabrikaat coffee path for the apparatus. In the Netherlands the floor procedure had been suspended awaiting the pronouncement of the patent office. "we expect that the judge pronounces a sentence in the course of this year", thus for the."

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Posted by Jay Brewer at January 19, 2005 3:39 PM
Recent Comments

Sara lee lost this one .... http://www.wptn.com/sp-iss-2004/tmark/tmark_details8.htm

Posted by: CS at January 30, 2005 8:22 PM

If DE pursues this, and starts acting like a bully in the POD market, I'll drop their machine in the dumpster faster than a HOT POD.

Posted by: Hwan Valdeez at January 20, 2005 12:37 PM


Thanks for posting that message, I figured people might find it interesting.

With regards to patent; things are drastically changing. I read somewhere that in the near future more things that were already patented years ago and are openly used by everyone at this moment will have to be paid for. The example that this magazine gave was the fact that for example, computer programs (and much more applications) use buttons to click to the next screen. However, the technology behind that button (the fact that it clicks and does something) has been patented to someone, and should receive compensation for this, because it was their idea in the first place. I know that this is an extremely detailed example (just stating what I read in that article), but if the whole patent business changes this radically, then Sara Lee might win the legal case in the end, which is more than likely not a good thing for customers.

Posted by: Wendy at January 20, 2005 12:11 PM

Sara Lee may have the patent, but there is beginning to be too much competition in this space for them to deny others to make Pods. Didn't Apple computers make this same mistake? Even though (arguably) they had a better product than the PC, they lost the war, because of this philosophy. Am I wrong? Couple of things Sara Lee should do - offer more variety of Pods in the U.S. (at the very least) and keep the niche open for competition.

Posted by: Doug at January 20, 2005 11:39 AM
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