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Gauloises cigarette-maker to appeal against plain packaging rules

Seita says it will appeal to France’s top court to suspend regulations due to take full effect on 1 January

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Serge Gainsbourg, a famous Gauloises smoker, with his wife Jane Birkin in 1977. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

The appeal to the council of state, France’s top administrative court, will not suspend the regulation from taking full effect from 1 January.

“Our rights to use our brands, several of which were created more than 100 years ago in France, should be respected,” Seita’s director for global corporate affairs, Axel Gietz, said in a statement on Tuesday.

In March, France published a decree introducing plain cigarette packages, the culmination of efforts launched by the government in 2014 to require tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in packages without logos or distinctive colours.

Seita said the decree suppressed four out of five distinctive elements of a brand under French intellectual property laws, thus depriving business owners of their rights under the French constitution.

Japan Tobacco International (JTI), whose global cigarette brands include Camel and Benson & Hedges, said it had filed an appeal immediately after the publication of the decree in March.

In 2012, Australia became the first country to mandate plain packaging for cigarettes in a bid to reduce smoking rates, and tobacco companies have so far failed to overturn it using intellectual property arguments.

Tobacco firms also failed to have the matter accepted for international arbitration.

Meanwhile, the European court of justice last week ruled that the EU’s new laws on plain tobacco packaging and a ban on menthol cigarettes were legal.

Britain is set to begin introducing plain packaging later this month, although the country’s high court is expected to soon hand down a ruling on the measure, which would have cigarette packets covered with health warnings.

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2016 by and tagged , .

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