Following on from last month’s ban on retailers displaying cigarette packs, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco have last week issued High Court
proceedings against the proposed ban on branded cigarette packaging which comes into effect in May 2016. The tobacco companies are seeking damages on the basis that the bans constitute breaches of trade mark law by depriving them from realising the value of their trade marks. This is clearly an emotive issue for both brand owners and the public, and with other tobacco companies rumoured to be considering similar action, it is clear that the issue is far from concluded. It will be interesting to see how the courts grapple with issues involving the role of a trade mark’s trade origin and advertising functions, counterfeiting concerns, and compatibility with the principle of free movement of goods within the EU.
Food & Drink / Trademarks
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