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Altria Group Sues Juul Over Alleged E-Vapor Patent Violation


Altria Group, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, has announced that its subsidiary NJOY is suing Juul Labs, a former e-cigarette company in which Altria held a significant stake. The lawsuit pertains to allegations of patent infringement concerning specific e-vapor products.

Altria’s complaint has been filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, asserting that certain Juul products, including their devices and pods, violate patents owned by NJOY. Altria is advocating for a ban on the importation and sale of these Juul products that are deemed infringing.

Murray Garnick, Altria’s General Counsel, emphasized the importance of safeguarding their intellectual property to achieve their corporate vision. The company contends that Juul’s imported products have infringed upon their patents, urging the ITC to impose appropriate remedies for these trade violations.

Altria acquired full global ownership of NJOY’s e-vapor product portfolio for around $2.75 billion in June. The deal encompassed NJOY ACE, an FDA-approved pod-based vaping product.

In response, a Juul spokesperson conveyed their commitment to defending their intellectual property and pursuing their infringement claims.

In parallel with the ITC lawsuit, Altria has also initiated a similar legal action against Juul in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

Altria had previously severed ties with Juul, divesting its stake that had significantly decreased in value due to Juul’s legal challenges. In 2018, Altria’s investment in Juul amounted to $12.8 billion, but by March, prior to Altria’s exit, the stake’s value had diminished to $250 million.

Juul has faced legal battles with states over marketing practices and claims of insufficiently warning users about the risks of its products, resulting in several substantial settlements in recent years.

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