fake tobacco protecting IP

Does plain packaging encourage the illegal cigarette trade?

An independent survey carried out for a tobacco company has shown that some retailers in parts of London are selling fake cigarettes for as little as £3.00.

The cigarettes and tobacco are branded in plain packaging to make them look as though they are complying with the law and are almost indistinguishable from well-known brands.

The mystery shopper survey visited convenience stores in areas of London such as Brick Lane, Kilburn and Maida Vale with fake cigarettes sold over the counter to one in eight shoppers across the 50 stores visited.

Japan Tobacco International, owners of brands such as Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, claim more a third of Londoners have purchased illegal tobacco, which they say can contain ingredients even more harmful than those in their legal equivalent.

The company believes the branding ban on cigarette and tobacco packaging will make counterfeiting much easier as customers are less ikely to notice the brand and will be lured by the cheaper price.

Public opinion polls strongly back plain packaging for tobacco, however many companies do have a continuing battle to stop their goods and trademarks being copied by those seeking to exploit the popularity of their brands.

Conflict International's Intellectual Property team provides a tailor-made investigation service, implementing tested investigation strategies in order to identify any counterfeiting teams operating and compromising your brand. We provide you with a comprehensive report at each stage of the investigation, from identifying counterfeit goods and test purchases, through tracing and locating sources with background checks to locating suppliers and liaising with you in any civil or criminal action.

For a free no obligation chat about how to protect your IP, contact our London Head Office on +44 (0)20 7917 2939 or email info@conflictinternational.com