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Australia Wins Court Challenge to Tobacco Plain Packaging

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A Singapore-based court has refused a challenge by Philip Morris to Australia’s landmark plain packaging legislation passed in 2011, which the tobacco giant had brought under a bi-lateral trade treaty with Hong Kong, the company said.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration declined on jurisdictional grounds to allow the case to proceed, effectively ending the challenge through this venue, which was based on claims that Australia was violating intellectual property laws.

The decision by the court not to hear the case is likely to be seen as a major victory for Australia, which is facing challenges in other forums such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Australia was the first country in the world to force manufacturers to strip all branding from cigarette packets, most of which are now sold over the counter from blank fronted cabinets, although other countries have followed its lead.

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