Japan Tobacco initiates legal challenge against Australia in effort to protect its brands, key trade marks on cigarette packs sold in the country

GENEVA , December 15, 2011 (press release) – In order to protect its ability to use its brands and key trade marks on the packaging of tobacco products sold in Australia, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has initiated a legal challenge against the Commonwealth of Australia today.

"We had hoped that common sense would prevail but it clearly has not," said Stefan Fitz, JTI's Regional President for Asia Pacific. "This legislation will stop JTI from using its brands, which are its most valuable property, and is unconstitutional. For this reason, we have commenced a legal challenge to this legislation in Australia's highest court," he explained.

Japan Tobacco International is keen to defend its business against plain packaging - as a matter of principle - while supporting less restrictive, more targeted and proportionate ways of achieving legitimate public policy objectives. The provisions of the Act clearly constitute an acquisition of JTI's property otherwise than on just terms. There is no reliable evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of such legislation while serious legal and commercial concerns have consistently been ignored.

For more contextual information on this issue, the company's June 2011 submission to the Australian government on this topic can be found at:

http://www.jti.com/documents/corp_reponsibility/jtiresponsetoaustraliangovernment.pdf

JTI will not comment further on this issue while the constitutionality of the relevant legislation is to be considered by the court.

JTI is a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies (JT), a leading international tobacco product manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as Winston, Mild Seven and Camel. Other international brands include Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie, Glamour and LD. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and net sales of USD 10.2 billion in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, JTI has operations in 120 countries and about 25,000 employees. For more information, visit http://www.jti.com.

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