- Juul Labs has filed infringement complaints against e-cigarette startup NJOY and its parent company Altria with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, according to a recent company announcement.
- The complaints allege that the NJOY Ace product infringes on several of Juul Labs’ patents. In the ITC action, Juul has requested that the NJOY Ace be blocked from future importation and sales in the U.S.
- This comes about four months after tobacco giant Altria simultaneously agreed to buy NJOY and ended its five-year-old ownership stake in Juul as the latter faced thousands of lawsuits over its products.
Although Altria offloaded its minority stake in Juul in March, the relationship between the two companies stretched through May, essentially coming to an end when Altria agreed to pay $235 million to settle at least 6,000 Juul-related lawsuits.
Now, Juul once again finds itself at odds with Altria, as Juul noted in its announcement that Altria is also part of this complaint. Altria’s $2.75 billion acquisition of NJOY closed on June 1.
This marks the fourth time Juul has filed infringement complaints with the ITC against other manufacturers. Previous cases occurred in October and November 2018, as well as July 2020. Juul has been successful in all three ITC actions, according to its announcement.
In all the cases, Juul has called into question the integrity of other manufacturers, noting that its own “innovation and resulting success” has led entities to infringe upon its intellectual property instead of creating something new themselves, according to the announcement.
“Innovation is critical in this space to advance tobacco harm reduction, and when others infringe on our technology we have no choice but to protect our intellectual-property rights,” Tyler Mace, chief legal officer for Juul, said in the announcement.
Juul said it will invest heavily in product innovation moving forward.