Australia cigarette plan facing new legal threat
A second global tobacco giant has flagged legal action over Australia's plain packaging plan for cigarettes, warning of violations of its intellectual property rights, a report said Saturday.
British American Tobacco said it stood ready to take Canberra to court over the plan to put cigarettes in bland, logo-free packets with graphic health warnings from next year in a drive to lower smoking rates.
The Hong Kong-based Asian arm of tobacco giant Philip Morris launched a lawsuit this week claiming the plan breached a bilateral investment treaty between Hong Kong and Australia by forcibly removing trademarks and other intellectual property.
British American said it faced similar issues.
"British American Tobacco Australia has always said that with any attempt to introduce plain packaging we will defend our intellectual property," a spokesman told The Australian newspaper.