Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks -- 2018

Australia - Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks   (World Trade Organization)

Challenging Australia's Plain Packaging Law

The NAM filed a letter with a World Trade Organization (WTO) adjudicative panel in support of challenges by various countries to Australia's Tobacco Plain Packaging Act of 2011, which restricts the use of trademarks in marketing tobacco products and prohibits all distinctive elements of packaging. The cases, consolidated before one panel of judges, were an effort to have Australia's law declared inconsistent with international trade agreements. Trademarks are important to enable the public to identify and recognize goods or services, helping companies to associate their reputations with their products and to promise a consistent level of quality. Trademarks are also an effective mechanism to protect against counterfeiting and consumer deception. The NAM's letter argued that Australia's restrictions will have serious consequences for the export and competition strategies for many producers of a wide variety of products. Our letter also explained why Australia cannot meet its substantial burden to demonstrate that the restriction is justified, since the measure will not contribute materially to its objectives and there are less restrictive means of achieving them. Unfortunately, the WTO panel held that the Australian rule may continue to restrict trademark use in tobacco product marketing.

Related Documents:
NAM Letter to WTO  (August 21, 2014)


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