Tobacco firms lose Australia plain packet challenge
SYDNEY (AFP) - Global tobacco giants lost a court challenge to Australia's plain packaging laws for cigarettes on Wednesday in a closely-watched case health advocates said would have a worldwide impact.
The High Court of Australia ruled the measures, forcing cigarettes and tobacco products to be sold in drab, uniform packaging with graphic health warnings from Dec 1 this year, did not breach the country's constitution.
Four cigarette companies led by British American Tobacco (BAT) had challenged the law, claiming it infringed their intellectual property rights by banning brands and trademarks from packets, and was unconstitutional.
But the court dismissed the move by BAT, Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris, rejecting the argument that the law represented "an acquisition of (their) property otherwise than on just terms".