Nespresso Forced To Offer Strengthened Commitments To End Coffee-Capsule Probe

Author:Mr Tim Kasten
Profession:Van Bael & Bellis
 
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On 4 September 2014, the French Competition Authority (FCA) announced that it had accepted and rendered binding a series of improved commitments offered by Nespresso to end an investigation into allegedly abusive and exclusive practices that had the effect of precluding competing manufacturers of coffee-capsules from Nespresso's coffee machines.

In France, Nespresso sold 73% of the capsule-coffee machines and Nespresso sold 85% of the capsules compatible with these machines in 2012. Following complaints by two producers of compatible capsules and the FCA's preliminary finding that Nespresso's conduct on the market could be viewed as an abuse of a dominant position, Nespresso proposed its first set of commitments in April 2014 (See VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2014, No. 4, available at www.vbb.com).

Following a market test, Nespresso decided to further supplement and improve its initial proposal to better address the concerns of the FCA, particularly in relation to the issue of the communication of information to competitors regarding technical modifications made to Nespresso's coffee machines. The commitments include that:

competitors must be notified of any technical modifications as soon as the new machines are in production and no later than 4 months before the new machines...

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