Nestlé has lost a legal bid to stop companies from selling generic coffee capsules to use its Nespresso machines.

A court in Germany ruled that Nestlé’s patents for the machine did not prevent consumers from using other capsules.

Nestlé was seeking an injunction against Ethical Coffee Company and its distributor Betron, which were selling capsules for up to a third cheaper than Nespesso’s own. Nestlé had asked for a preliminary injunction and can still ask the court to hear the case in a full civil trial and may also appeal the ruling.

“We are convinced of the power of our legal arguments and will thus take further steps to defend our intellectual property,” said Holger Feldmann, managing director of Nestlé’s German Nespresso business.

CaféPod – the first range of non-Nespresso branded pods to be sold in the UK started to roll into 200 Waitrose this week.