Tobacco Industry Fights Back Against Plain Packaging Laws

By Nathaniel DeLucia

In 2011, Australia became the first country to pass a “plain packaging” law – a law that requires all tobacco products to be sold in plain unadorned packing, devoid of any identifying marks, colors, or logos.  The plain packaging law was enacted in order to discourage people from smoking. 

In response, the tobacco industry and five WTO members (Ukraine, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Indonesia), who sell tobacco products in Australia, filed a dispute challenging the law at the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body. Challenges have also been brought in two of the WTO’s committees: the TRIPS (Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights) council and the TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Committee.  However, Australia has contested these additional challenges as inappropriate and redundant in light of the ongoing dispute settlement case in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.

Resolution of this dispute will have a tremendous impact on the global tobacco industry, as many other countries are considering measures similar to the plain packaging law passed in Australia.
For the latest on the dispute, check out IP –Watch’s article, located here.