Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (UNKNOWN:GMCR.DL) knows that the unlicensed K-Cup manufacturers are a problem. It may have Starbucks and other leading brands on board as licensed partners, but it estimates that 10% to 11% of K-Cups sold in its latest quarter came from the roughly two dozen brands that have decided to cut out the middleman, going directly to consumers.
They have a right to do that. K-Cup patents expired late last year. However, Green Mountain is reaching out to unlicensed makers, hoping that they follow Starbucks' lead and go through the Keurig creator.
Why would any company saving money by going direct want to play nice with Green Mountain? In this video, longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz goes over the two arguments that the company is making as it courts the unlicensed players. One argument is weak, but the other just might work.