Sara Lee Licenses SENSEO Trademark From Philips

By Joseph Mandour on February 1, 2012

coffee_beans-200x133 Los Angeles – Sara Lee announced that it has signed an exclusive nine-year licensing agreement with Royal Philips Electronics. The agreement will cover all Philips-branded consumer coffee systems and will give Sara Lee full rights to use the SENSEO trademark.

Both companies currently co-own the SENSEO brand, with each having a fifty percent stake. Under the terms of the new agreement, Sara Lee will reportedly pay a total of $220.5 million in royalties to Philips over nine years.

According to a statement issued by Sara Lee Corp., the goal of the partnership with Philips is to drive innovation and expansion into new markets for its SENSEO brand, a global leader in the single-serve coffee segment. Since 2001, the two companies have collaborated on SENSEO, developing it into one of the world’s leading single-serve coffee systems, with over 33 million appliances sold worldwide. Sara Lee has been the manufacturer of the individual coffee pods, and Philips is the designer, manufacturer, and distributor of the single-serve coffee machines.

Under the agreement, Philips will continue to control the design, production, and distribution of the coffee machines, with Sara Lee taking full control of the SENSEO trademark, expanding it to new markets across the world. Sara Lee reportedly plans to accomplish this through its recent acquisitions of two overseas coffee and tea companies, CoffeeCompany, a chain of sixty cafes in the Netherlands, and House of Coffee, a beverage foodservice company with customers in Denmark and Norway.

“Owning 100 percent of SENSEO, our most global coffee brand, is a major step for ‘CoffeeCo’ as we prepare for our upcoming spin-off into a separate, publicly-traded company,” said Michiel Herkemij, chief executive officer of Sara Lee Coffee and Tea. Herkemij added, “With increased innovation, we believe this move will enable us to build on our leading position and further position SENSEO as a global power brand in the coffee segment.”

Sara Lee Corp., established in 1956, owns a large portfolio of well-known trademarked brands, including Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Pickwick Teas, Douwe Egberts, Sara Lee, and SENSEO. The company, which employs approximately 20,000 people worldwide, brings in nearly $8 billion in annual net sales from its brands of food and beverage products. With its announcement that the company will divide into two publicly-traded entities, Sara Lee will continue its focus on the North American meat market while it seeks expansion into the international coffee and tea markets as well.

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