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
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
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 are put on the market;
a "trusted third party" will be appointed to be the
intermediary between the parties to prevent the transfer of
competitors will be provided, through the trusted third party,
a minimum of 15 prototypes (as opposed to 3 in the previous
commitments) of the new machine so that they can carry out
compatibility tests with their own capsules; and
more transparency concerning the origin of the technical
modifications, which includes Nespresso's obligation to file to
the FCA the reasons behind any future technical changes.
The FCA considered that the improved commitments offered by
Nespresso adequately lifted the technical, legal and commercial
barriers to entry for other compatible coffee-capsule
manufacturers. As a result, the FCA decided to close the
proceedings conditional on Nespresso's compliance with these
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