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Host Arthur demands nearly 300 million euros from Nespresso

The host Arthur and a dozen other creditors of the Ethical Coffee Company are demanding 278 million Swiss francs (297 million euros) from Nespresso before the Swiss courts, their lawyer Mr.

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Host Arthur demands nearly 300 million euros from Nespresso

The host Arthur and a dozen other creditors of the Ethical Coffee Company are demanding 278 million Swiss francs (297 million euros) from Nespresso before the Swiss courts, their lawyer Mr. François Besse told Le Figaro this Tuesday, January 16 , confirming information from La Tribune de Genève. The Franco-Moroccan, producer and TV host, had invested 8 million euros between 2009 and 2010 in exchange for 5% of the shares of the young company, which wanted to market biodegradable capsules for Nespresso coffee machines.

At the time, the Nestlé subsidiary locked the market, its capsules being the only ones compatible with its machines. “Ethical Coffee Company (ECC) opened the market” with its competing capsule, recalls Me François Besse. Nespresso then took the company to court in Switzerland, recalling that the shape of its capsule was registered as a protected trademark. ECC was banned from selling its pods on the Swiss market for three years, from 2011 to 2014.

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The two companies clashed for years in court, in what the press nicknamed the “pod wars”. “But this attack clipped ECC’s wings on the Swiss market,” deplores Me François Besse. In the meantime, “competitors rushed into the breach without being attacked,” points out the lawyer, and ECC found itself late in a market where the company was a pioneer. A delay that it was never able to make up for, going bankrupt in 2018.

In 2021, the Swiss Federal Court finally ruled that the ban was unfounded, the shape of the capsule cannot be registered as intellectual property as it is almost technically impossible to produce a pod compatible with Nespresso machines from a different form from the original. It is for the damage caused by this ban that the eleven creditors are today demanding 278 million Swiss francs from the Nestlé subsidiary.

A conciliation hearing between the parties will take place on February 20. If it does not result in an amicable agreement, ECC's creditors may decide to continue their legal action. “There are then two to three years of procedure,” underlines Me François Besse. Unless an agreement is finally reached along the way. Contacted by Le Figaro, Nespresso says it takes “note of the file filed by the creditors of Ethical Coffee Company” but specifies that the company “does not comment on current legal proceedings”.

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