Altria Group recently filed a lawsuit against vapemaker Juul Labs, claiming that certain products from Juul infringe on patents owned by Altria’s NJOY subsidiary.
In order to protect their intellectual property, Altria has initiated patent-infringement complaints against Juul with both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The company is seeking a ban on the importation of Juul’s device and Juulpods.
Murray Garnick, Altria’s general counsel, stressed the importance of safeguarding their intellectual property. He stated, “Juul has infringed upon our patents through the sale of its imported products, and we ask the ITC to impose appropriate remedies in response to these trade violations.”
Juul representatives have not yet responded to the request for comment.
Earlier this year, Altria acquired NJOY for a minimum of $2.75 billion. NJOY is notable for being one of the few e-cigarette manufacturers whose products have obtained clearance from federal regulators.
In addition, Altria divested its stake in Juul this year after originally purchasing a 35% stake for nearly $13 billion in 2018. As part of the agreement, Altria received nonexclusive rights to some of Juul’s intellectual property regarding heated tobacco devices.