Intl. arbitration tribunal rejects Philip Morris claim against Australia over plain packaging law
"Court condemns tobacco giant Philip Morris over secret bid to sue Australia", 17 May 2016
An international tribunal has unveiled a secret ruling confirming it rejected a bid by tobacco giant Philip Morris to sue Australia over its plain packaging laws, calling the attempt “an abuse of rights”.
In its heavily redacted 186-page ruling dating from 17 December 2015, the permanent court of arbitration said it had no jurisdiction over the case brought by Philip Morris.
In 2012 Australia became the first country to mandate that cigarettes must be sold in plain packages, in an attempt to reduce smoking rates…
But big tobacco firms including Philip Morris have launched legal challenges against such laws, arguing the rules impinge on their trademark intellectual property.
Philip Morris…lodged the challenge with the arbitration court based in The Hague in 2011 after the plain-packaging legislation was passed, using a 1993 trade deal between Australia and Hong Kong that included foreign investment protections.
…[T]he permanent court of arbitration found in its unanimous ruling that “the main and determinative, if not sole, reason” for a restructuring of the company as far back as 2005 was to enable it “to bring a claim under the treaty, using an entity from Hong Kong” after it received ample warnings that such legislation was being considered…