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NL – Koninklijke Douwe Egberts v. Belmoca

30 Jan 2019

Koninklijke Douwe Egberts B.V. v. Belmoca BVBA, Interlocutory Judge of the District Court of The Hague, The Netherlands, 28 December 2018, Case No. ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2018:15453

Nespresso compatible coffee capsules. Koninklijke Douwe Egberts (hereafter: KDE) accuses Belmoca of indirect infringement of EP 521 relating to ‘A beverage preparation system, a capsule and a method for forming a beverage’.

Belmoca asserts that the treshold for an injunction should be relatively high as Belmoca has been on the market for already two years. It therefore has an interest in maintaining the status quo. The Judge in interlocutory proceedings agrees. This the more so since KDE has never warned Belmoca that its capsules fall within the scope of KDE’s patent claims. KDE further did not deny that the current case for Belmoca is a so-called ‘bet the company’ case. If Belmoca looses, this would lead to bankruptcy. KDE’s damages if a preliminary injunction would be denied and in proceedings on the merits it is decided that Belmoca infringes, are relatively easy to asses, in any event much more easy than Belmoca’s damages in case Belmoca is confronted with an (in hindsight) unjust injunction. Therefore the threshold for awarding a preliminary injunction is high.

There is a reasonable chance that the Patent will be invalidated in proceedings on the merits. Claim 1 is likely to be found invalid due to lack novelty over WO 209, or at least to be invalid due to lack of inventive step in the light of WO 209 and the common general knowledge of the man skilled in the art, or Belmoca practices a non-inventive variant of WO 209.

Preliminary injunction denied.

A copy of the judgment (in Dutch) can be read here.