ROCHESTER, MI -- Oliver Law Group P.C., a law firm representing plaintiffs in Keurig antitrust lawsuits and consumer class actions, said antitrust litigation involving single-serve coffee brewers is continuing to grow. The law firm cited court documents issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on July 15, stating that at least 25 Keurig antitrust lawsuits have been filed in a consolidated proceeding underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
All of the lawsuits reportedly accuse Keurig Inc. of engaging in anticompetitive practices in order to maintain its alleged monopoly over the single-serve K-Cup market. A key complaint, Oliver Law Group pointed out, is Keurig's decision to use a "lock-out" mechanism on the Keurig 2.0 brewer that prevents it from functioning with unlicensed K-Cups marketed by Keurig's competitors.
Antitrust litigation was initiated by the JPML in June. According to court documents cited by the law firm, 17 Keurig lawsuits were transferred to the Southern District of New York at that time. The proceeding involves three types of claims: direct purchaser Keurig class actions, indirect purchaser Keurig class actions and individual Keurig antitrust lawsuits filed by the company's competitors.
According to the Keurig antitrust lawsuits pending in the litigation, Keurig's patents on the K-Cup format expired in 2012. The suits allege that the company designed its new Keurig 2.0 brewer with a lockout mechanism as part of an "anticompetitive scheme" that will force owners of the machines to pay at least 15% to 25% more for K-Cups. The Keurig antitrust lawsuits further claim that the lockout technology offers no benefit to consumers, and was designed for the sole purpose of restraining competition in order to allow Keurig to charge "supracompetitive" prices for its K-Cups.
Additionally, Keurig antitrust lawsuits charge that the company improperly acquired competitors and entered into exclusionary agreements with suppliers and distributors to prevent competitors from entering the market, and engaged in "sham" patent infringement litigation, all in order to maintain its alleged monopoly.