Feb 08 2012
Australian Government argues in court cases that he has a legitimate right for the plain packaging of tobacco industry, creating what will probably be a long legal battle with the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers.
In the defense filing Tuesday the High Court of Australia, the government claims it has the right to regulate the marketing and packaging of tobacco products and also maintains tobacco products are harmful to human health.
“The Commonwealth will vigorously defend the legitimacy of laws simply do not accept the package and there is no reason to claim the big tobacco, that the measures are unconstitutional,” said Nicola Roxon Attorney General in a press release.
Tobacco companies including Philip Morris International, Inc, the second largest global producer and marketer of cigarettes in the U.S. brands Marlboro argue that a ban in Australia on the package of advertising is a violation of intellectual property and filed a lawsuit to cancel the law.
“We have received a copy of the defense of the state. We are currently studying it, and therefore unable to comment further at this stage,” said Chris Argent, a representative of Philip Morris.
Philip Morris also sought the arbitral tribunal with the United Nations, to challenge the plan for the Australian Government. The company claims that the simple laws of packaging violate trade agreements struck in 1993 between Australia and Hong Kong to protect their offshore investments.
Opponents Imperial Tobacco Group PLC (IMT.LN), British American Tobacco PLC (BATS.LN) and Japan Tobacco Inc (2914.TO) also filed lawsuits against the government of Australia, arguing that the laws are unconstitutional. The hearing will be held at the same time and hearings are to begin in April.
The representative of Imperial Tobacco in the statement of Dow Jones Newswires said the company “believes the government of Australia is unconstitutional.”
Laws passed in the Parliament of Australia will make the first country to restrict logos, branding, colors and text advertising on tobacco packages. Product names will appear in the standard colors and are in regular font and font size on the package, painted a dark olive, brown, which the government studies have shown, has the lowest appeal to smokers.
Warnings with graphic images of the harmful effects of smoking should be 75% of the front of the packaging and 90% rear. New packages should be introduced on a staggered basis until 2012.
“As the case in the High Court it is not appropriate to make a comment. British American Tobacco is looking forward to this matter is determined by the Supreme Court as soon as possible,” the spokesman said British American Tobacco.