BAT’s subsidiary Reynolds American Inc. seeks to block Philip Morris International Inc.’s imports of its IQOS heated tobacco sticks to the U.S, according to Bloomberg. Reynolds claims the tobacco heating technology used in IQOS device infringes its U.S. patents.
- A six-day trial against Philip Morris at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., began Monday, with a judge scheduled to release his findings in May.
- Tobacco firms are investing in smokeless alternatives such as nicotine pouches, e-cigarettes, and tobacco-heating devices as fewer people smoke traditional cigarettes.
- Philip Morris’s IQOS device, marketed by Altria Group Inc., is the only heat-not-burn product authorized for sale in the U.S.
- The IQOS device got the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s nod last year as it reduces consumers’ exposure to harmful chemicals in cigarettes, giving Philip Morris an edge against competitors.
- Altria responded to Reynolds’s suit, filed in a federal court in April, challenging the validity of a half dozen Reynolds’s patents.
- Altria argues that even if a violation is found, IQOS is important in efforts to reduce smoking as it expects at least 40 million adult smokers to have switched to smoke-free products by 2025
- BAT’s attempt to secure an importation ban against IQOS in the U.S is part of its global strategy to undermine the heated-tobacco segment and protect its core cigarette business
- The U.S. International Trade Commission is expected to issue a final decision by September, and the ban, if ordered, would take effect in November.
Philip Morris International Inc. is currently gaining. PM: NYSE is up 0.050%