Skip to main content

Keurig plans to use DRM in upcoming machines to lock out competitor cups

keurig plans use drm upcoming machines lock competitor cups screen shot 2014 03 at 10 46 14 am
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Green Mountain Coffee roasters –manufacturer of the fairly ubiquitous single serving “K-cup” coffee brewers– is making moves to edge out the competition in the future. They’ve been the top dog in the single-serving market for years now, selling little plastic pods that now come in over 200 licensed varieties. But ever since a crucial patent expired in 2012, competitors have been able to produce generic K-cup pods that retail for anywhere from 5-25 percent less than those made by Keurig.

Obviously, this has been cutting into Keurig’s bottom line, so the company wants to put a stop to it. As with computer printers, refills are where Keurig makes most of its money, so to ensure that consumers stick with its own name brand pods, Green Mountain plans to implement the physical equivalent of a DRM system into its upcoming line of coffee machines. The new brewers, which will start appearing on store shelves later this year, will be outfitted with new “interactive technology” designed to work only with licensed K-cup pods — effectively blocking out competitors.

Unsurprisingly, companies who produce generic K-cups aren’t too pleased with this activity. TreeHouse Foods has even gone so far as to file a lawsuit (pdf) against Keurig, claiming that, in addition to the upcoming anticompetitive brewer design, the company has been  been busy striking exclusionary agreements with suppliers and distributors to lock competing products out of the market, saying:

“Green Mountain has announced a new anticompetitive plan to maintain its monopoly by redesigning its brewers to lock out competitors’ products. Such lock-out technology cannot be justified based on any purported consumer benefit, and Green Mountain itself has admitted that the lock-out technology is not essential for the new brewers’ function. Like its exclusionary agreements, this lock-out technology is intended to serve anticompetitive and unlawful ends.”

The plan was confirmed by Keurig’s CEO, who stated on a recent earnings call that the new maker indeed won’t work with “unlicensed” pods as part of an effort to deliver “game-changing performance,” and “ensure the system delivers on the promise of excellent quality beverages produced simply and consistently every time.” 

 What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

Editors' Recommendations

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
The best robot vacuum and mop combos, chosen by experts
A Roborock S5 sucking up dirt on the floor.

The world of robot vacuums has seen rapid improvement over the past few years, with many of the best models now serving as both vacuums and mops — allowing them to clean up your home in a single run. These types of robot vacuums typically employ some sort of retractable mop to lift their saturated components and keep your carpets dry. Once they're done cleaning, most will then head back to their docking station to empty their dustbins and clean their dirty mopping pads. That makes robot vacuum and mop combos mighty enticing.

However, these gadgets aren't cheap. It's not uncommon for these products to carry price tags over $1,000, and with so many to choose from, it can be hard to tell if you're getting the best robot vacuum for your home. If you need help with your search, here are the best robot vacuum and mop combos of 2024, including the best overall, best budget, and more.

Read more
This Jackery portable generator and solar panel bundle is on sale
Jackery Explorer 290 portable power station in use while camping.

Ah yes, the thrills of the great outdoors. Now that summer is upon us, the wilderness devotees amongst us shall be venturing to campgrounds and other natural settings. For these types of treks, you’ll want to make sure you have enough power to run essential devices like phones, warming plates, and LED lanterns. So allow us to direct you toward this fantastic power station deal at Best Buy:

For a limited time, you can get the Jackery Explorer 290 Portable Power Solar Generator and the SolarSaga 100W Foldable Solar Panel for $450. That’s $100 off the original package price of $550. 

Read more
Best portable power station deals: Bluetti, EcoFlow, and more
Bluetti AC300 portable power station

If you like to take a fair chunk of the modern world with you when you hit the road or set off on a camping trip, it can be beneficial to take one of the best portable power stations with you. A portable power station can be beneficial simply to keep around the house as well, as it can come in handy during power outage and backyard gatherings, among other things. Of all the smart home deals you can shop right now, portable power stations offer some of the largest savings by dollar amount. Reading onward you’ll find all of the best portable power station deals available right now, with brands like Bluetti, Jackery, and EcoFlow ready to charge things up after you grab something from the best tablet deals, best laptop deals, or best phone deals. And if you’d like to shop for some further savings around the house, be sure to check out the current lawn mower deals, pressure washer deals, and smart lock deals.

Our favorite portable power station deals

Read more