Senseo is a registered
trademarkfor a coffeebrewing system from Dutch companies Philipsand Douwe Egberts, a subsidiaryof Sara Lee Corporation. The three main characteristics of the system are its coffee pods (called pads in some countries), its design and its easy to use system.
The system was first introduced in the
Netherlandsin February 2001, followed by Belgiumand France, Germany/ Austria/and Denmark, United Kingdomand United States, and Australia(in chronological order).The Senseo was technicaly developed by WeLL Design; [http://www.WeLLDesign.com WeLL Design]
A new model of the Senseo machine - the Senseo New Generation - was launched in selected markets in 2007. This updated version allows the user to adjust the height of the mechanism to accommodate larger cups or mugs, has an indicator light function which shows when there is insufficient water for two cups (as opposed to the previous model which only showed whether there was sufficient water left for one cup), features a larger water reservoir and has an option which allows the user to adjust the amount of hot water used per cup. [ [http://www.senseo.philips.com/index.asp?pl=NL] Senseo New Generation at the Dutch Senseo website]
The main blends are mild, medium, mocca and dark roast and there is also a decaffeinated variety. The blends differ, according to general taste, in different countries. The special blends, Sumatra, Kenya and Brazil are blended from
arabicacoffees from selected plantations and are a little more expensive than the normal blends. There are also coffee pods with added flavors, called Milano, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Vienna. More recent varieties launched in selected European markets include Raving Reds, Summer Sins and Lusty Lime flavoured coffees and cappuccino.
A European patent application with the aim "to protect an assembly of pad holder and pad"
Bird & Bird, [http://www.twobirds.com/english/pressreleases/BB_helps_win_5_year_European_coffee_war.cfm "Bird & Bird helps win 5 year European coffee war. Dutch manufacturers triumph in patent battle against Sara Lee relating to Senseo coffee system."] Press Release, August 31, 2006. Retrieved on September 3, 2006.] , i.e. the Senseo coffee pods, was filed on September 30, 1998 by the Dutch firm "Sara Lee/DE N.V." [http://register1.epoline.org/espacenet/regviewer?
] on the online
European Patent Register(" epoline")] The European Patent Officegranted Cite patent|EP|0904717 on July 11, 2001. The European patent took force in a number of Contracting States of the European Patent Convention, including Belgium.
February 20, 2004, the Court of First Instance of Antwerp, Belgium, ruled in a lawsuitbetween three Belgian coffee vendors, N.V. Fort Koffiebranderij, S.A. Cafés Liégeois and N.V. Beyers Koffie, versus Philips and Douwe Egberts over the European patent, and decided that the other coffee vendors were allowed to produce and market coffee pods that fit the Senseo. The Senseo creators had used their patent to get an injunction against the marketing of coffee pods by other coffee brands, and those others replied by seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement. Fact|date=February 2007
One consideration the Belgian judge offered for the ruling is that coffee pods already existed. That ruling ended the Senseo coffee pod monopoly, and following that ruling, practically every coffee vendor in the
Beneluxcountries started production of coffee pods. The Antwerp ruling affects the patents on the pods, but does not affect the patents on the Senseo machine itself. Fact|date=February 2007
An appeal in court changed this patent matter, and the new judgement was that the other coffee makers were infringing on the European patent in Belgium. [ [http://www.vanbaelbellis.com/files/BE%2012-05-105925A.pdf "Douwe Egberts Regains Monopoly to Comercialise Coffee Pads for its Senseo Coffee Machines"] , Van Bael & Bellis on Belgian Business Law, volume 2005, No. 12, page 7]
In the meantime, the European patent was opposed before the European Patent Office by a number of companies including Kraft Foods and, on August 30, 2006, Sara Lee's Cite patent|EP|0904717 covering the Senseo pads was completely revoked on appeal by the European Patent Office. Suzanne Rotteveel, spokeswoman for Sara Lee in the Netherlands, said: :"We're very disappointed since we invested a lot of time, energy and money. It's disappointing when you are not able to regain a part of that investment. (... ) what this ruling means is that we no longer have protection for our patent in Europe." [ Stephanie Bodoni, [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&refer=conews&tkr=SLE:US&sid=as5PWfruXg7c "Sara Lee Loses EU Patent on Coffee Pads for Philips's Senseo"] , Bloomberg, August 1, 2006. Retrieved on September 3, 2006.]
Razor and blades business model
* [http://www.senseo.com/content/default.html Senseo homepage]
* [http://coffeetea.about.com/od/equipment/gr/senseo_sup.htm Review of the Senseo Supreme coffee maker]
* [http://www.espressoauction.com/Coffee-Cocoa-and-Tea-Equipment/Senseo Senseo Supplies]
* [http://www.singleservecoffee.com/archives/000534.php Review of the Senseo from Single Serve Coffee]
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