August 16th, 2012

Australian Court Strikes Down Tobacco Challenge

By Matt Siegel
New York Times

One of the world’s toughest cigarette labeling laws is set to take effect in Australia in December, after the country’s highest court ruled Wednesday against multinational tobacco companies that had sought to block the legislation.

Graphic images of mouth ulcers, cancerous lungs and gangrenous limbs will dominate the front of all cigarette packages sold in the country, and brand logos will be banned, after a landmark ruling by the High Court of Australia determined that the new laws were consistent with the Constitution and did not violate the rights of Big Tobacco.

In a suit with potential global ramifications that was closely watched by industry lobbyists and health advocates in Australia and abroad, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris Australia had argued that the new ban on brand logos would infringe on their intellectual property rights, an argument that was rejected by the court.

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