Oak Brook Coffee Distributor Sues Green Mountain Coffee, Maker of Keurig

A recent blog post discussed Starbucks’ lawsuit with Kraft over the distribution of its bagged coffee. In the post, we mentioned the fact that Starbucks’ bagged coffee sector had grown enormously due to the popularity of the new Keurig coffee makers.

However, Green Mountain Coffee, the company that manufactures the coffee machines, is facing a lawsuit of its own. According to Oak Brook based company Tree House Foods, Green Mountain is attempting to establish a monopoly on the pods used in conjunction with the coffee machines. While the current Keurig model is compatible with several types of “pods” (the small containers that hold the coffee), the newer model, set to be released in the fall, has a technological element preventing the machine to function with non K-Cup pods.

According to Tree House’s complaint, Green Mountain is creating this technology in an attempt to force coffee drinkers into purchasing its higher priced cups.  While some of the patents on K-Cups have expired (which has allowed competition such as Tree House to come out with similar pods), Green Mountain has licensed its K-Cup to several other beverage companies, including Starbucks (which we discussed earlier this week) and its profits have risen steadily since the company’s inception.

The Patterson Law Firm handles a variety of business litigation, including unfair competition. To learn more about the services we offer visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call (312) 223-1699.

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