August 15, 2012 / 12:35 AM / in 5 years

Australia's High Court rejects challenge to anti-tobacco marketing law

CANBERRA, Aug 15 (Reuters) - 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.

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