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Posts Tagged: "Plain Packaging"

Panelists Address Growing Threat from ‘Brand Restrictions’ at Virtual INTA Annual Meeting

Restrictions on the use of branding symbols are a growing and serious threat to IP rights, according to a panel of trademark specialists speaking at the online INTA Annual Meeting this week, which has been combined this year with the Association’s Leadership Meeting and is being held virtually. About 3,340 people from 110 countries are registered to attend. The moderator of the panel, former INTA President Ronald van Tuijl of JT International S.A., said there is “a very strong case against brand restrictions” arguing that: “In a market where all products look alike, the products become commoditized. Premium brands lose market share or are even delisted. That results in less consumer choice ultimately.”

INTA Brief to WTO Revives Plain Packaging Debate

Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Act (TPPA) was enacted in 2011 and prohibits all use of trademarks (other than word marks) on tobacco product packaging. The law seemingly created a domino effect around the world, with countries including Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK having enacted similar laws since, and many other countries presently considering various approaches to restricting tobacco and other products, including alcohol, snack foods and soda. Most recently, Canada enacted the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act, which places certain restrictions on tobacco products, and is still considering broader plain packaging regulations. Complaints about the law have been pending with the World Trade Organization (WTO) for some time, and, on January 14, the International Trademark Association (INTA) submitted a brief opining in the latest stage of that case.

Plain confectionery packaging a heavy-handed response to health concerns

Legislating for tobacco-style plain packages for confectionery is a disproportionate response to the obesity crisis and strips companies of valuable trademarks, writes the Institute of Economic Affairs’ head of lifestyle economics.

‘Plain packaging’ is a policy which eliminates all branding and visual design elements on products and forces manufacturers to use state-mandated colors and typefaces to create homogenized packaging with no differentiating features. Plain packaging is currently only applied to tobacco products in a handful of countries worldwide, but if health activists have their way that will change.

Governments banning use of brands is a troublesome trend

We understand governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their citizens and therefore, should regulate harmful products. However, there is no compelling evidence that restricting the use of brands will improve public health… The standardized packaging of tobacco products also sets a dangerous precedent for other goods and services, including alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, snack foods, fast foods and even baby formula, a number of which are already being targeted with severe packaging restrictions, including tobacco style plain packaging.

Brand Owners Watch as Smoke Clears on Plain Packaging Efforts

The major premise of plain packaging is that when stripped of producers’ logos, brand images and promotional matter, tobacco products simply aren’t as attractive to consumers. Reduced focus on logos and images also increases the effectiveness of health warnings. Chan points to research from Australia, the first country to fully implement plain packaging, to show that by stripping tobacco products of gratuitous trademarks and other producer advertising elements, there were 100,000 fewer smokers over the first 34 months after implementation in 2012. Not all groups agree, however.