Australian court to rule on landmark tobacco case

By REUTERS
August 14, 2012 19:05

 
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CANBERRA - Australia's highest court will rule on the world's toughest anti-cigarette marketing laws on Wednesday in what has become a major test case for global tobacco companies in their fight against restrictions on the sale of their products.

Australia's laws will force tobacco companies to remove all branding from cigarette packets from this December, and allow tobacco to be sold only in plain olive-coloured packages which carry graphic health warnings.

The laws follow World Health Organization recommendations, and are being closely watched by Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Canada and India, which are considering similar measures to help fight smoking.

Tobacco giants British American Tobacco, Britain's Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco challenged the laws in Australia's High Court, claiming the rules were unconstitutional because they effectively extinguished their intellectual property rights.

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