U.S. Trade Body Rules Against Import of IQOS Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco Devices

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Philip Morris International says it will appeal ruling that cigarette substitute infringes rival’s patent

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IQOS is a cigarette substitute made by PMI and sold in the US by Altria, two makers of Marlboro cigarettes. ITC ruled that the product infringes two patents owned by Reynolds, the maker of Newport cigarettes.

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Since IQOS does not burn tobacco, the device does not produce smoke when users inhale it. It is the only inhalable tobacco product on the US market by the Food and Drug Administration to say in marketing materials that it exposes users to less harmful chemicals than cigarettes.

PMI sells products in dozens of countries. Altria introduced IQOS in the US in 2019 and has sold it in only a few states so far. Altria halted the rollout earlier this year due to a pending patent case.

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“We are shocked and concerned by the commission’s decision,” a PMI spokesperson said. He said lawsuits based on similar patent families have been unsuccessful in European courts and the European Patent Office.

Altria said it is working with PMI, a company that split from Altria in 2008, on contingency plans and continues to believe Reynolds’ patents are invalid.

“The infringement of our intellectual property undermines our ability to invest and innovate and thereby reduce the health impact of our business,” said a spokesperson for Reynolds, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco Plc. “That’s why we will firmly protect our IP around the world.”

Jennifer Maloney [email protected] . Feather

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