Tobacco Giant Will Pay Millions After Packaging Lawsuit
Australia has been taking steps for a while now to make tobacco products as unappealing as possible. This has involved using the "world's ugliest color" for packaging and prohibiting branding.
The tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris filed a case against the Australian government's plain packaging law, but now will pay millions in legal fees after losing the battle.
After a constitutional challenge in 2012, which Philip Morris lost alongside Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, the company took the case to the permanent court of arbitration, according to The Guardian. The company tried to use the conditions of a 1993 trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong as a precedent that banning trademarks breached foreign investment provisions.
After the five-year battle in court, Philip Morris Asia was found liable to pay Australia's claim for legal costs, which The Guardian reported to be in the ballpark of $50 million.
Packaging laws has been a hot topic of debate in recent years. As Canada legalized recreational marijuana, government bodies and marijuana companies debated whether or not companies would be able to use branding on products.
The Guardian reported that this case in Australia sets a precedent for other countries to follow suit, whether it's to limit branding on tobacco products or, as recreational marijuana becomes legal in more places, those products, as well.