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Former Trade Marks chief slams plain packaging 

Jump to full article: Packaging Gazette (uk), 2012-04-26
Author: Rebecca Hubbard

Intro:

Peter Lawrence, who was director of the division from 1997 to 2003, said the Government's "plain packaging" proposals for tobacco amounted to the confiscation of intellectual property and would damage business.

"The UK has fought hard at international level to ensure that all countries respect trade mark rights, and for the UK to take action to deprive brand owners of the right to use their marks would be an unfortunate precedent to say the least. There may be circumstances in which the public interest would justify such a move, but I do not think that the case has been made here for such a radical step," he said.

"Trade marks underpin modern economies by helping consumers make their choices and bring rewards to firms that successfully meet their desires. When governments seek to intervene in this way, they risk undermining this fundamental aspect of how markets operate."

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· New Zealand

Branding ban likely for tobacco products  

Branding of tobacco products will be banned if the Government gets its way
Jump to full article: TV3 (nz), 2012-04-20

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non-USA, by Country
· UK
· Europe

Plain packaging proposals for tobacco will ‘damage business’ 

Jump to full article: Talking Retail (uk), 2012-04-26

Intro:

UK government plans to strip cigarette packs and other tobacco products of their distinctive branding have been condemned by the former head of the UK Patent Office’s designs and trade marks division.

Peter Lawrence, who was director of the division from 1997 to 2003, said the government’s “plain packaging” proposals for tobacco amounted to the confiscation of intellectual property and would damage business.

He said: “The UK has fought hard at international level to ensure that all countries respect trade mark rights, and for the UK to take action to deprive brand owners of the right to use their marks would be an unfortunate precedent to say the least. There may be circumstances in which the public interest would justify such a move, but I do not think that the case has been made here for such a radical step.

“Trade marks underpin modern economies by helping consumers make their choices and bring rewards to firms that successfully meet their desires. When governments seek to intervene in this way, they risk undermining this fundamental aspect of how markets operate.”

Lawrence’s remarks coincided with the release of a press statement by Europe’s main IP association criticising the proposals announced by health secretary Andrew Lansley on 16 April in a consultation document.

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non-USA, by Country
· Russia
Organizations
· Altria/Philip Morris
· BAT

Philip Morris trademark lawsuit dismissed 

* Philip Morris defends its right to trademark in Moscow court
Jump to full article: Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) (ru), 2012-04-25

Intro:

The Moscow Commercial Court has dismissed the Philip Morris tobacco company's lawsuit and supported the patent agency's decision to deny the trademark registration of Optima Zolotaya cigarettes.

The Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks ruled that the trademark is confusingly similar to some trademarks previously registered by British American Tobacco-Java.

The agency believes the word "Zolotaya" can be seen as an independent element, which would infringe on the British American Tobacco-Java's trademark rights.

Last March Philip Morris attempted to challenge the agency's decision, claiming that the word "Zolotaya" on a pack of cigarettes is not perceived separately from the word "Optima." However, the Patent Disputes Chamber found these arguments unconvincing.

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· Australia

Tobacco group denounces 'Orwellian' restrictions 

Jump to full article: Sydney Morning Herald (au), 2012-04-19
Author: Mark Metherell

Intro:

THE High Court hearings into the challenge against plain pack cigarettes have concluded with a tobacco industry lawyer describing the Government's defence of its measures as ''Orwellian''.

The new law excising trademarks and brand colours from cigarette packets at the end of this year has stirred anxieties in the tobacco industry about the blackout spreading worldwide.

Yesterday the New Zealand government said it planned to introduce plain packaging based on Australia's laws.

In the High Court, Gavan Griffith, QC, counsel for the makers of Camel cigarettes, alluded yesterday to George Orwell's novel 1984 - where Big Brother says ''love means hate'' - in accusing the Government of ''doublespeak'' over its edict to remove trade marks from cigarette packets.

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BAT, Burberry, Valeant, Google: Intellectual Property  

Jump to full article: Business Week/Bloomberg, 2012-04-19

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Plain packaging of tobacco products a step too far 

Jump to full article: Scoop (nz), 2012-04-19

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· Australia

Court has big tobacco on back foot ($$) 

Jump to full article: Australian Financial Review (au), 2012-04-19

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· Australia

Trademark Is a Privilege in Australia, Government Says  

Jump to full article: Bloomberg News, 2012-04-18

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non-USA, by Country
· Australia

Tobacco giants call for compo 

Jump to full article: Brisbane (QLD) Courier-Mail (au), 2012-04-18

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BAT v COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA (PDF) 

SUBMISSIONS OF THE PLAINTIFFS
Jump to full article: High Court of Australia (au), 2012-03-26

Intro:

Part 1: Publication of Submissions

1. These submissions are in a form suitable for publication on the internet.

Part II: Issues Arising in the Proceedings

2. The issues arising in these proceedings are:

(a) First, whether, apart from s. 15 of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth) (TPP Act), some or all of the provisions of the TPP Act would effect an acquisition of any, and if so what, property of the plaintiffs or any of them otherwise than on just terms (within the meaning of s. 51(xxxi) of the Constitution.

(b) Secondly, whether s. 15 of the TPP Act is a valid law of the Commonwealth.

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How ACTA stinks of Big Tobacco  

Jump to full article: New Europe, 2012-04-08
Author: David Cronin

Intro:

Should an industry that causes five million deaths per year be given any say in drafting public policy?

From the outset, Big Tobacco has been one of the driving forces behind the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). To my astonishment, this crucial nugget of information has been generally overlooked in the debate on this controversial accord.

Shortly after he became chief executive of British American Tobacco (BAT) in 2004, Paul Adams attended a conference on counterfeiting hosted by the World Customs Organisation in Brussels. In his speech, Adams argued that counterfeiting affects cigarettes more than most other products. Counterfeiting "erodes brand values and product integrity," he said.

Adams then made a risible inference that BAT is an ethical company, whereas counterfeiters lack scruples. . . .

BAT is part of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which was intimately involved in the ACTA negotiation process. In 2008, the ICC's Jeffrey Hardy sent a memo to the EU, United States and other governments drafting the agreement. ACTA was necessary, he wrote, because "intellectual property theft is no less a crime than physical property theft." . . .

From his Paris office, Hardy has been striving to prevent the introduction of similar measures in Europe. He has, for example, urged John Dalli, the EU's health commissioner, not to propose plain packaging in a planned revision of the Union's tobacco legislation (Dalli has pledged to publish new anti-smoking recommendations by the end of this year).

So what's going on here? From the available evidence, it appears that Big Tobacco is undertaking a multi-pronged offensive to preserve its ill-gotten gains. One of the most harmful industries in human history is not only pretending to be concerned about public health; it is posing as a defender of intellectual property rules that are nominally designed to stimulate creativity and innovation. . . .

More than nine million people with HIV in Africa, Asia and Latin America lack access to the medicines they need. By 2030, eight million will die from tobacco use throughout the world, if present trends continue. Hollywood, Big Pharma and Big Tobacco have joined forces to sell ACTA. Why should anyone buy anything from that toxic alliance?

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· Australia

Australia's landmark tobacco packaging laws face world trade challenge  

Jump to full article: The Australian (au), 2012-04-06
Author: Lanai Vasek * From: The Australian

Intro:

The complaints to the WTO come as the High Court prepares to hear the major tobacco companies' challenge to the Labor's plain packaging legislation on April 17.

The legal challenge to the legislation, which was passed last November, is being mounted by tobacco giants British American Tobacco, Phillip Morris, Imperial Tobacco Australia and Japan Tobacco International.

They say the landmark legislation breaches the Australian Constitution because it seeks to acquire property - in the form of brand names - without providing compensation.

The government insists it is restricting the use of brand names and logos, not taking them over.

In submissions filed yesterday, the government rejected the tobacco companies' main argument.

"The argument is unsustainable," the commonwealth said.

"What an owner gains by registration of a trademark is relatively no more than a monopoly right to exclude others from using the mark without the owner's authority."

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Govt files High Court tobacco defence 

Jump to full article: ninemsn, 2012-04-05

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non-USA, by Country
· Australia

Government fends off Big Tobacco arguments 

Jump to full article: Sydney Morning Herald (au), 2012-04-06

Intro:

The Gillard government is rebutting cigarette companies' claims that plain packaging undermines their intellectual property saying "what an owner gains by registration of a trademark is... no more than the a monopoly right to exclude others from using the mark without the owner's authority." Photo: Reuters

REGISTERING a trademark gives the owner the right to exclude others from using it, but not the guaranteed future right to use it themselves, the federal government argues in its submission on the landmark plain packaging High Court case, lodged last night. . . .

The government's case says this claim is not sustainable, because ''what an owner gains by registration of a trademark is … no more than a monopoly right to exclude others from using the mark without the owner's authority''.

''None of the statutory rights tobacco companies claim will be taken from them … involve any positive right to use, free from other legal restrictions … The imposition of new legal restrictions takes nothing away from the rights granted. No pre-existing right of property has been diminished. No property has been taken,'' the federal submission states.

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