Phillip Morris Starts Legal Suit against Australian Government
Today the leading cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris started a legal suit against the Australian government, which plans to remove company logos from cigarette packages and substitute them with horrible images depicting the consequences of smoking.
The government supposes that these images featuring blinded eyes, cancerous mouths and many other awful things will make the cigarette package less attractive to smokers.
Australian government authorities also think that the new regulations will make the country the world’s rigorous place on tobacco advertising.
But several enraged cigarette producers have since threatened lawsuits, declaring that the move illegally decreases the value of their trademarks. Philip Morris is one of those companies to lay an action for compensation.
“We would expect that the compensation would constitute billions,” said Philip Morris representative Anna Edwards.
The legislation, which will be revised by the Parliament, would prohibit cigarette manufacturers from placing their logos and various attractive images on cigarette packages. Brand names will instead be printed in a quite small font and depict large graphic warnings and grisly colored images of the consequences of smoking. The law would be gradual, starting in January 2012.
Hong Kong-based Philip Morris Asia Limited, laid an action on Monday declaring that the legislation infringes a bilateral investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. The tobacco enterprise states that the treaty defends the companies’ property, such as trademarks. The plain packaging plan strictly decreases the value of the company’s trademark, according to Anna Edwards.
“Our cigarette brands are the one and the most indisputable key valuable assets that we possess as a company – it is what allows us compete and moreover it’s what empowers us to differentiate our products. This move would significantly mean the confiscation of our brand in Australia,” Edwards stated.
Authorities are also eager to move forward the message that smoking affects your children.
The government disclaims that the given plan infringes any laws and declared that it would not stop.
“Our authorities are resolute more than ever to undertake everything they can in order to decrease the hazard caused by smoking,” Health Minister Nicola Roxon stated.
“We won’t permit be frightened by various tobacco companies, which take legal actions,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
She also ignored Philip Morris’ threats stating that they are not going to allow tobacco producers to implement their skilful tactics.
The legal action laid on Monday starts a three-moth period of collaborations the two parties.
Philip Morris declared if a positive outcome is not achieved by the end of this period, it will require arbitration. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced similar graphic warnings for cigarette packaging last week.
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