22 Nov 2011

Cigarette company suing Australian govt over plain packaging

6:09 am on 22 November 2011

Philip Morris is suing the Australian government over a new law making plain packaging mandatory for cigarettes from December 2012.

Parliament has passed legislation that means all tobacco will need to be sold in plain olive-brown packets with graphic health warnings.

Philip Morris Asia said the move breached a bilateral investment treaty.

The BBC reports it has served a notice of arbitration under Australia's Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.

The company's Australian affiliate Philip Morris Ltd will also pursue claims under Australian domestic law.

British American Tobacco, another big cigarette company, has previously said that the legislation infringes international trademark and intellectual property laws.

Under the new law, the only thing distinguishing tobacco brands on packets will be the brand and product name in a standard colour, position, font size and style.