Philip Morris International, the maker of well known cigarette brand, Marlboro, today said that it has served a notice of claim on the Australian government, stating its intention to pursue legal action over plans to introduce plain packaging in Australia for tobacco products.
Philip Morris Asia Limited (PMA is taking action under Australia's Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.
''The forced removal of trade marks and other valuable intellectual property is a clear violation of the terms of the bilateral investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. We believe we have a very strong legal case and will be seeking significant financial compensation for the damage to our business,'' said Anne Edwards, spokesperson for PMA.
Australia has already banned the public display of tobacco products in retail outlets, and the country's health minister, Nicola Roxon wants cigarette manufacturers to sell their products in plain dark-olive packaging, carrying health warnings and without the company logos making it less attractive to smokers.
She aims to pass the legislation in Parliament by January 2012.
Several cigarette manufacturers have threatened lawsuits, fearing that arguing the move may make other countries follow suit.