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Big Tobacco Is Back in Court to Save U.K. Brands From Extinction

  • Largest global tobacco companies suing U.K. government
  • Verdict could set plain packaging domino effect in motion
relates to Big Tobacco Is Back in Court to Save U.K. Brands From Extinction
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Big Tobacco is no stranger to a fight. In a London courtroom this week, industry lawyers will battle to preserve the last vestige of branding for products that date back to Queen Victoria’s reign.

Imperial Tobacco Group Plc and Philip Morris International Inc. are among cigarette producers set to argue at a six-day hearing starting Thursday that the government will infringe their intellectual property rights through rules for so-called plain packaging. The legislation is set to take effect in May, forcing them to sell their cigarettes in austere brown packs, with corporate logos replaced by graphic images of diseases blamed on smoking.