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PMI wins USD 10 million in patent case

17 Jun 2022. Philip Morris International Inc (PMI) has been awarded USD 10.7 million after a judge found that R.J. Reynolds (RJR) had violated its patent rights, reports Reuters.

The federal court jury in Alexandria, Virginia ruled that RJR's Vuse Solo and Alto devices infringe two PMI patents that cover parts of a vaping device for heating substances and preventing leaks.

The ruling is only one part of a huge patent dispute between PMI and RJRs parent company British American Tobacco PLC. (BAT). RJR had won an order that saw all imports of PMIs IQOA imports blocked last November. Altria Group Inc, from which PMI spun off in 2008, distributes IQOS in the US and is also defending against RJRs Virginia lawsuit, reports Reuters. Furthermore, Altria is suing RJR for patent infringement over its Vuse device in North Carolina with the outcome still pending.

BAT meanwhile has sued PMI in various European countries over the IQOS line with PMI stating that IQOS patent lawsuits and challenges outside of the United States have "repeatedly and universally failed."

Of the latest ruling in Virginia, a spokesperson for RJR said the company was disappointed by the infringement findings and said it may appeal, but was pleased that the jury cleared its Vuse Alto of infringing one of the patents, according to Reuters.

A Philip Morris spokesperson said the company was "grateful" for the verdict, which "rejects an attempt by BAT to free-ride on our hard work and investment."