LINCOLN, CA -- The Rogers Family Co. has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing Keurig Green Mountain Inc. of violating antitrust and unfair competition laws. The Lincoln, CA, coffee company's legal action follows Oakbrook, IL-based TreeHouse Foods Inc. filing of a similar lawsuit in February. | SEE STORY
The Rogers family lawsuit alleges that Keurig has required its distribution partners to enter into anticompetitive exclusive agreements designed to maintain Keurig's "monopoly power" by excluding competition. The lawsuit cites the soon-to-be introduced Keurig 2.0 brewer that will contain lockout technology to prevent its functioning with competitors' coffee pod products as an example of its anticompetitive practices.
Rogers also alleges that Keurig has made false and disparaging comments about its coffee pod products and has already begun to try to persuade distributors and retailers not to purchase Rogers and other competitors' coffee pods on the basis that they will not function with Keurig 2.0 brewers.
"We filed this lawsuit to end Keurig's anticompetitive practices which deny consumers access to our and other competitors' products," said Rogers Family Co. president Jon Rogers. "No single company should be permitted to control consumer choice or prices through illegal, anticompetitive conduct."
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (as the company was previously known) sued Rogers Family Co. in November 2011, charging that the company had infringed on its K-Cup patents with its 97% biodegradable OneCup portion pack. Green Mountain lost that lawsuit in May 2013 and appealed to the Federal Circuit, which on March 12 rejected the appeal.