Reynolds American subsidiary sues e-cig maker

A subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. is suing an electronic-cigarette retailer situated in Alabama, accusing the firm of trademark violation of Reynolds’ Camel and Winston cigarette brands, and unjust and misleading trade practices.

Camel Winston Logos

Camel and Winston cigarette brand logos

Reynolds Innovations Inc. filed the lawsuit jn November 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of N.C. The case has been referred to a mediator.

The participants of the court action are SAS Technologies Inc. of Ozark, Ala., doing business as and Save A Smoker Inc., and co-owner Eric Slaick.

Electronic cigarettes are devices powered by a battery and that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge and produce a vapor that is inhaled by the user. Refill cartridges can be bought in different quantities and flavors; five packs are commonly priced between $9 and $18.

In contrast, a carton of cigarettes can cost between $25 and $50 for most name cigarette brands.

Reynolds Innovations said that the firm sold its products using pictures that are “colorable copies and confusingly comparable to” the Camel and Winston logos.

When Reynolds filed the lawsuit, outlined flavors “Camell Tobacco” and “Winston” on its website, along with USA Blend – “similar to Marlboro” – and Newport, the best-selling Lorillard menthol brand.

Brian May, a spokesman for Altria, the owner of Philip Morris USA, said that the corporation has not filled a comparable lawsuit against SAS Technologies and the other corporations.

Reynolds said in the lawsuit that the use of such pictures “will continue to result in a likelihood of consumer confusion and irreparable injury to the company.”

Reynolds spokesman Bryan Hatchell stated that the firm rejected to make a comment on the lawsuit.

Slaick said on November 5 that the SAS has taken away all references to Camel and Winston from its site and stores.

The products now on its site are for its MaxxVapor Pro brand. The company shows retail places in the Southeast for its products, but none in North Carolina.

Slaick said that the firm gets its electronic cigarettes from a Chinese producer who applied the Camel and Winston imagery as element of differentiating the designs and flavors for its product alternatives.

“We just selected what the producer offered and had not heard a claims from Reynolds,” Slaick said. “Once we come to understand of the lawsuit, we took them off the website immediately.

“It was never the purpose to take on R.J. Reynolds or to misleading consumers.”

Reynolds has moved into the e-cigarette category with Vuse, which is being test-marketed in the Triad at select Tarheel Tobacco stores.

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