BAT Sues PMI, Claims Patent Infringement


Lawsuit The Latest In Ongoing Dispute Between Big Tobacco Giants

Big tobacco has desperately attempted to adjust to an ever-changing and evolving marketplace over the last decade, to mixed results. Between acquisitions of established vapor companies, to the research and development of new smokeless technologies, these companies are doing all they can to remain viable in a market that’s rapidly moving away from combustible tobacco.

British American Tobacco (BAT) has filed a legal challenge against Philip Morris International (PMI) over patents covering their respective “heat-not-burn” devices, Glo and IQOS. BAT alleges that PMI is using patented technology from its Glo device in PMI’s new IQOS product.

PMI has previously sued BAT back in 2018 over an alleged patent breach in Japan, although this lawsuit remains ongoing. The company claimed that BAT’s Glo product infringed on two of their Japanese patents and sought an injunction against the sale of their product in Japan, as well as damages of nearly $1 million.

Meanwhile, BAT filed two patent infringement claims against PMI in the U.S., one with the International Trade Commission, and one in Virginia federal court, seeking an injunction against importing IQOS as well as remedies for any potential damages caused. PMI launched IQOS in the United States back in late 2019, vowing to vigorously defend itself against any potential litigation.

Patent Infringement

British American Tobacco has filed a series of legal challenges against fellow big tobacco giant Philip Morris International, over an alleged patent infringement regarding their respective “heat-not-burn” devices, Glo and IQOS. BAT alleges that PMI used Glo’s patented heating blade technology in the IQOS device, and is seeking an order to halt the import of the product as well as remedies for damages caused.

The company filed two separate patent infringement claims in the United States, one through the International Trade Commission, and one in the Virginia federal court. The two cases will run separately, and the courts’ decisions are independent of one another.

“If we win we may be able to get an ITC exclusion order blocking the importation of IQOS into the U.S. by Philip Morris unless they agree to take a license to our patents,” said BAT spokesman Will Hill. “We have seen media reports that BAT has filed legal actions but have not had the opportunity to evaluate its allegations. We can say, however, that we will vigorously defend ourselves,” a Philip Morris spokesperson responded.

Unlike vaporizers, the Glo and IQOS heat-not-burn devices utilize tobacco-filled sticks that when heated, generate an aerosol containing nicotine. Phillip Morris had launched the IQOS device in the U.S. last year, and recently announced plans to roll out the product in Germany as well. IQOS currently remains the market leader in the heat-not-burn sector.

Vaping Facts

Vaping may be the greatest tool we have at our disposal to help combat the deadly worldwide smoking epidemic. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people quit smoking and remain tobacco-free.

Vaping is already saving thousands, and potentially millions, of lives throughout the world each year. Research from University College London found that vaping was responsible for helping up to 70,000 British smokers quit in a single year alone.

Not only is vaping an effective cessation aid, but it has also been demonstrated as a safer, reduced harm alternative to tobacco. Landmark research carried out by the UK Royal College of Physicians found that vaping is staggeringly 95% safer than smoking.

Not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation aid and proven reduced harm alternative to tobacco, but there has been no evidence of long-term risk to users of vapor products. Research from the National Academy of Sciences found that vaping is not only less harmful than smoking but that there are no known long-term health effects associated with prolonged use as well.

Moving Forward

These lawsuits represent the latest in a series of desperate moves by dying multinational corporations who failed to adapt to clearly defined trends in the marketplace over a decade’s time. Much like big alcohol, big tobacco failed to respond to shifts in consumers’ tastes and preferences, opting instead to squeeze as much profit out of their remaining customer base as possible.

These once powerful companies are now scrambling to adapt, turning to hastily enacted and poorly timed acquisitions of established companies and engaging in frivolous litigation among themselves, much like big alcohol. As the market rapidly continues to move away from tobacco and toward vapor products, these once-grand companies will continue to flounder and deserve every moment of their slow demise.

What are your thoughts regarding the lawsuit brought against PMI by BAT? How do you believe the ongoing legal dispute between these two companies will ultimately pan out? Let us know what you think in the comments below, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news as well!

(Image Credit – Pixabay –

Dustin has been vaping for almost a decade. He found e-cigarettes in 2008 and quickly became drawn to them as an early adopter. He's been writing reviews ever since and has established himself as a well-versed authority on the subject.

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