Nespresso Elbows Out Coffee-Pod Pretender

     MANHATTAN (CN) — In a caffeinated trademark dispute, Nespresso proved that a competitor in espresso-pod market likely confused consumers by imitating their trademark, a federal judge ruled.
     Nespresso, a Swiss-based subsidiary of Nestle, introduced a quick way for consumers to get their espresso fix two decades ago with a patent for machines that brew shots from single-use, disposable coffee pods.
     In early 2014, the New York-based Libretto joined the market with similar capsules designed to be compatible with Nespresso machines.
     Though similar in size, shape and color, Libretto manufactured plastic capsules in contrast to Nespresso’s aluminum pods. Both products came in similarly long, thin, rectangular boxes.
     Libretto stamped its boxes with the words “Nespresso compatible.” The text box included a trademark symbol, while also imitating the brand name’s font and style.
     Nespresso USA sued filed a federal complaint in New York against its would-be competitor, but Libretto never showed up to defend itself.
     The clerk issued a default judgment against the company on Nov. 19, 2015.
     U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain found Thursday that Libretto’s design indeed brewed confusion.
     “Based on the record before it, the court concludes that Libretto used the Nespresso mark in a manner that was likely to cause consumer confusion with respect to Nespresso’s possible endorsement of, or affiliation with, Libretto’s products,” her 15-page opinion states.
     Libretto is barred from using any Nespresso’s logo, trade name, trade mark, or trade dress, and must destroy all unauthorized products.
     Nespresso’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
     Libretto’s website and the phone number listed on its Facebook page are no longer active.

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