CANBERRA Aug 15 Australia's highest court
endorsed tough new anti-tobacco marketing laws on Wednesday,
dismissing a legal challenge from cigarette companies in a major
test case between tobacco giants and anti-smoking campaigners.
Tobacco giants British American Tobacco, Britain's
Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco
challenged the laws in Australia's High Court, claiming
the rules were unconstitutional because they effectively
extinguished their intellectual property rights.
The court found Australia's laws to force companies to
remove all branding and sell tobacco only in plain olive green
packets, which also carry graphic health warnings, were legal
and did not breach trademark rights.
The laws, the toughest in the world, are in line with World
Health Organisation recommendations and are being watched
closely by Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Canada and India, which
are considering similar measures to help fight smoking.