September 2014

Standardised packaging of tobacco products: draft regulations

The IP and health and Medical Law committees responded to the UK Government consultation on the introduction of regulations to standardise the packaging of tobacco products.  In its response, the Health and medical law committee highlighted the Society’s support for any initiative which seeks to promote public health and reduce illness and disease, as well as the limited experience available from other countries and the absence of any long term studies, to ascertain whether or not plain packaging would have the desired effect. 

The IP committee highlighted the key intellectual property questions which the introduction of standardised packaging might raise, including the fact that the proposed legislation would inhibit tobacco companies from being able to distinguish their products from those of other competitors.  As this is the key function of a trade mark, the question arises as to whether standardised packaging deprives the tobacco seller's ability to use their trade marks, and therefore their main form of branding.

Full response can be found on our website