British American Tobacco | IP | Intellectual Property | Supreme Court

British American Tobacco draws a blank as Supreme Court denies appeal

An attempt by British American Tobacco and others (together BAT) to overturn the Court of Appeal's decision that the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) are compatible with EU Law has been unsuccessful.

As discussed back in June 2016, tobacco companies were subjected to multiple restrictions on their ability to brand tobacco products or their outer packaging with their own intellectual property.

BAT sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on the basis that the Regulations impose greater restrictions than the EU Directive 2014/40/EU imposed.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal on the basis that no point of law had been raised which was of general public importance. The decision had already been subjected to judicial consideration and subsequent appeal. 

The Supreme Court Appeal Panel considered that the Regulations had been implemented on correct consideration of the issues, including whether the provisions deprived BAT of use of its trademarks and whether they were proportionate, appropriately restrictive and justified as a measure of the protection of public health.

The Court of Appeal judgment therefore stands.

This decision is clearly very frustrating to BAT, who considers it has been wrongfully prevented from using its intellectual property, in which it has invested millions of pounds.

All cigarettes sold in the UK after 20 May 2017 must have standardised packaging.

A copy of the Court of Appeal judgment is available here.