BAT said that in the US, it filed two patent infringement claims against PMI, one via the International Trade Commission (ITC) and one in the Virginia federal court. The tobacco company claims it is seeking compensation for the damages caused and an injunction on importing the product.
“If we win we may be able to get an ITC exclusion order blocking the importation of IQOS into the U.S. by Philip Morris unless they agree to take a license to our patents,” said BAT spokesman Will Hill.
“We have seen media reports that BAT has filed legal actions but have not had the opportunity to evaluate its allegations. We can say, however, that we will vigorously defend ourselves,” responded Philip Morris.
IQOS Market Share Increases as Other HnBs Struggle
In 2019, PMI posted a 44.2% increase in iQOS shipments, to 59.7bn units, with a 40.7% rise to 17.1bn units in the last quarter of the year.
Excluding the US, the tobacco giant has witnessed a market share increase in IQOS markets by 1.4 percentage points to 5%. At the end of 2019, it was calculated that there were a total of 13.6m IQOS users, of whom 9.7m were former smokers who had switched to the device.