According to vapingpost, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced an investigation into Altria and Philip Morris after the tobacco company bat filed a lawsuit, accusing them of infringement of patent rights over iqos.
In April, British American Tobacco announced that it would sue its competitor Philip Morris International Inc (PMI) in the United States and Germany, accusing British American Tobacco Company of infringing its patent for the tobacco heating technology used in iqos, its HNB device.
Bat added that it also filed two patent infringement claims against PMI in the United States, one through the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the other in the federal court of Virginia. The tobacco company said it was seeking compensation for the damage caused and the ban on imported products.
Together with PMI, Altria also faced inquiries from three business units of British American tobacco, and filed a complaint with ITC on similar violations. According to bat, the German and US lawsuits are based on the fact that the heating blade technology used in iqos is an early version of the technology currently used in its glo tobacco heating equipment.
British American Tobacco spokesman will Hill said in April last year: “if we win, we may get an international trade commission exclusion order prohibiting Philip Morris from importing iqos into the United States unless they agree to license our patents.”
“We have seen media reports that bat has filed legal proceedings, but there is no opportunity to assess its charges. But we can say that we will defend ourselves vigorously. ” PMI responded.
In response to bat’s application, ITC said there was indeed reason to study more carefully the import and patent activities of PMI and Altria, the report said. “Its investigation will be conducted by the Commission’s unfair import investigation office to determine whether PMI and Altria have violated Section 337 of the tariff act of 1930. Section 337 prohibits the import of products from companies that may infringe upon U.S. patents owned by others or entities. “
PMI’s iqos system was only recently approved for sale by Altria’s Marlboro brand in certain U.S. markets. British American tobacco, on the other hand, wants iqos products to be banned in the United States unless PMI and Altria agree to pay licensing fees for the use of the relevant patents.