PMI Challenges UK Regulations to Standardize Tobacco Packaging

Skadden is representing Philip Morris International (PMI) in its claim for judicial review of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 (the 2015 Regulations), which became law in the U.K. on March 19. The 2015 Regulations require all cigarette and hand rolling tobacco packaging to be “standardized,” i.e., the packaging will need to be a uniform color and will not be permitted to contain any trademarks (other than the brand and variant name of the product, which may only be presented in a prescribed typeface).

The basis for PMI’s challenge is that the 2015 Regulations unlawfully deprive it of its property without compensation, contrary to the common law, the Charter of Fundamental Rights on the European Union, and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention of Human Rights. In addition, the challenge raises a number of arguments under the Community Trade Mark Regulation (Regulation 207/2009) and EU law.

Skadden is also advising PMI on a related challenge against the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (Directive 2014/40/EU). That challenge was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union by order of Turner J in November 2014.

PMI is a leading tobacco company and markets six of the world’s top 15 international brands, including Marlboro, which in 2015 was ranked as the 10th most valuable global brand and valued at more than $80 billion.

The Skadden team is led by Karyl Nairn QC and Jonathon Egerton-Peters, and has instructed Marie Demetriou QC, Daniel Piccinin and Michael Bolding of Brick Court Chambers and Roger Wyand QC of Hogarth Chambers.