Dolce Gusto® patent not infringed

Case No. S2016_002 ¦ Decision of 06 October 2016 ¦ “Vorsorgliche Massnahme; Glaubhaftmachung Verletzung”

Note that Hepp Wenger Ryffel is involved in this matter on behalf of the defendants.
 

For a brief review of the background at stake, please see the report on the main hearing of 01 September 2016.

Nestlé alleged that Delizio‘s Twïn® capsules infringe EP 1 472 156 B1, i.e. the combination of claims 1, 3 and 9. The feature analysis referred to in the decision accordingly reads as follows:

1.a   Capsule designed to be extracted by injection of a fluid under pressure in an extraction device, containing a substance for the preparation of a beverage,

1.b   comprising a closed chamber containing the said substance

1.c   and a means allowing the said capsule to be opened at the time of its use and for allowing the said beverage to flow out,

1.d   characterized in that opening is achieved by relative engagement of the opening means with a retaining wall of the closed chamber

1.e   and in that the relative engagement is performed under the effect of the rise in pressure of the fluid in the chamber.

3.f   Capsule according to Claim 1, characterized in that the opening means (28, 32, 41, 48, 64, 71, 73, 74, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 93, 94) is housed outside the closed chamber

3.g   and in that the retaining wall (29, 33, 40, 45, 72, 92) is moved under the effect of the rise in pressure against the opening means.

9.h   Capsule according to Claim 3, characterized in that it comprises a cup (66) with a rim

9.i   and a bottom having an opening for the outflow of the beverage

9.j   and a membrane (67) welded to the periphery of the rim of the said cup

9.k   and in that the means allowing opening comprises recessed and raised elements (73, 74) forming the bottom of the said cup

9.l   covered by a thin film (72), this thin film tearing on the raised and recessed elements at the time of extraction.

The interim assessment of the reporting judge held that this combination of features is not infringed by the Twïn® capsules. The court essentially consented with the reporting judge and dismissed the request for interim injunctive relief. Claim construction of features 1.c, 1.d, 1.e, 3.f, 3.g, 9.k and 9.l was key. With reference to the recent Pemetrexed decision of the German Federal Supreme Court, the FPC took the technical problem into consideration from the very beginning:

Das Gericht darf sich in den Gründen der Entscheidung mit dem technischen Problem nicht erst dann befassen, wenn es den Patentanspruch ausgelegt hat. Bestimmung der Aufgabe und Auslegung des Patentanspruchs stehen vielmehr in einer gewissen Wechselwirkung. In der Regel ist es dementsprechend zweckmässig und geboten, vorab Überlegungen zum technischen Problem anzustellen. Im Rahmen der Auslegung sind nämlich sowohl der Sinngehalt des Patentanspruchs in seiner Gesamtheit als auch der Beitrag, den die einzelnen Merkmale zum Leistungsergebnis der Erfindung liefern, zu bestimmen. [BGH, 14.06.2016 – XZR 29/15, Rn. 14]

The decision also clarifies how references to pictures in a request for injunctive relief are to be understood. A request reciting specific features ‘with reference to’ pictures (“unter Bezugnahme auf”) is not limited to the exact embodiment shown in the pictures. However, the wording ‘according to’ (“entsprechend”) actually is limiting.

[D]ie Angabe, dass die Kapseln unter Bezugnahme auf die Fotografien in Anhang A […] Merkmale aufweisen würden, ist nicht einschränkend. Die Fotos dienen lediglich dem einfacheren Verständnis des Rechtsbegehrens 1.

Das Eventualbegehren 1a schränkt die aufgeführten Elemente zusätzlich mit den Fotografien der zu verbietenden Kapsel ein, […].

Compensation for legal representation (CHF 40’000,–) was awarded based on the value in dispute of CHF 1m and according to the tariff; see CostR-PatC. Expenses for involvement of the patent attorney was adjusted accordingly to CHF 40’000,–, in line with the recent decision O2012_043.

Reported by Martin WILMING

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Case No. S2016_002 ¦ Decision of 06 October 2016 ¦ “Vorsorgliche Massnahme; Glaubhaftmachung Verletzung”

Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.

./.

(1) Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund
(2) Delica AG
(3) Total Capsule Solutions SA

Composition of the Board of the FPC:

  • Dr. Dieter BRÄNDLE
  • Kurt STOCKER
  • Dr. Herbert LAEDERACH

Court Secretary:

  • Susanne ANDERHALDEN

Representative(s) of plaintiff:

Representative(s) of defendant:

DECISION IN FULL

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5 Replies to “Dolce Gusto® patent not infringed”

      1. It is clear beyond doubt from the website of the FPC that the term for appeal has expired and that no appeal has been filed; see here. The information in the press is false.

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