Tobacco giant launches intellectual property campaign
British American Tobacco has launched an advertising campaign opposing any plain packaging law for cigarettes.
The campaign - which is costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars - is called 'Agree/Disagree', and aims to highlight the tobacco company's view that a plain packaging law would infringe on its intellectual property rights.
That was the same argument used in Australia against that government's plain packaging law, but the High Court ruled in favour of the government.
The Court's reasons for its decision won't be released until later this year.
BATNZ general manager Steve Rush says the branding on cigarette packets has been created over many years and belongs to the company.
"Our branding is property - intellectual property - and the government shouldn't be able to take that away."
New Zealand's government has not yet drafted a plain packaging law, but is consulting with the public on the issue.
Earlier: British American Tobacco will today announce details of a campaign opposing moves by the government to implement a plain packaging law for cigarettes.
Details of the campaign have not yet been released, but it will likely be a pre-emptive attack on any future anti-smoking laws, similar to the one just approved by the Australian High Court.
Tobacco companies had appealed an Australian government decision to implement plain packaging for cigarettes, but this was rejected by the High Court, which last week found the law complied with the constitution.