Feb 11 TreeHouse Foods Inc said on
Tuesday it had sued Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc
for allegedly attempting to illegally maintain a monopoly over
the pods used in its new Keurig coffee brewers due to be
released later this year.
Green Mountain plans to launch the new hot-drink brewing
system, called Keurig 2.0, in the fall.
The system will use both single-serve K-Cups and
larger-sized K-Carafe packs that brew 28 ounces of coffee.
TreeHouse alleges that Keurig 2.0 has anti-competitive
lock-out technology that will prevent it from functioning with
cups supplied by unlicensed competitors.
The complaint said this was an attempt to eliminate consumer
choice and force consumers to buy higher-priced Green Mountain
Green Mountain's Keurig machine popularized the use of pods
- small packets containing everything from coffee, tea or hot
chocolate powder - for easy, in-home, one-cup brewing of hot
Sales of the company's K-cups have risen steadily, even
though the expiry of some patents on its single-serve coffee
pods in 2012 allowed rivals such as TreeHouse and Caribou Coffee
Co Inc as well as private-label companies to launch
their own products.
Green Mountain has also licensed K-cups to companies such as
J.M. Smucker Co, Starbucks Corp and Associated
British Foods Plc, which sell their coffee and tea in
The company has sold more than 30 million Keurig machines
around the world for use in homes, offices and other locations.
Green Mountain's shares closed at $119.40 on the Nasdaq on
Tuesday. Shares of TreeHouse closed at $64.09 on the New York