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Packaging And Design

IP Associations Urge Government To Abort Plain Packaging

A number of international organisations representing intellectual property rights have called on the government to reverse the decision to implement plain packaging on cigarettes in Ireland.

A total of eight organisations – whose aims include maintaining current European trade mark and design laws – released a joint statement condemning the decision made on June 10, adamant that the move contradicts current legislation regarding intellectual property.

The organisations are APRAM (an international association for French-speaking intellectual property specialists), the Benelux Trademark Association, the Czech Association for Branded Products, ECTA (the European Communities Trademark Association), Marques (the European association representing brand owners interests), Unifab (a French group protecting international intellectual property rights), Union IP and BASCAP (Business Action o Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy, a group affiliated to the international Chamber of Commerce).

“It is most unfortunate, and indeed undesirable, that the Irish Government should be proceeding with this legislation at a time when the effectiveness of the Australian plain packaging law is at least uncertain and indeed is being seriously called into question,” the statement read.

“According to some media reports, tobacco sales volumes have increased since its introduction, reversing the trend of decline of recent years, whilst the illicit tobacco trade has also increased significantly.

“It cannot be stated often enough that registered trade marks, and the ‘goodwill’ created by their long use on products, are rights of property which are to be treated like any other property.

“Plain packaging laws amount to an indirect legislative expropriation of valuable property rights. Even where there is a need to achieve important public objectives such as health, any proposed legislation and/or policy options should not deviate from maintaining an appropriate balance with legitimate intellectual property rights, obtained in respect of lawful products.

“The signatories of this Statement call upon the Irish Government and Parliament not to proceed with the introduction of this legislation.”

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Conor William O’Brien

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