- Altria subsidiary Njoy, one of the few vaping companies with products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for marketing in the U.S., has accused competitor Juul of patent infringement, according to a Tuesday press release from Altria.
- The company is seeking to ban imports of Juul vaping devices and the Juulpods that go in them. Altria has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
- The accusation comes a little over a month after Juul filed its own copyright infringement lawsuit against Njoy, requesting that importation of the Njoy Ace e-vapor device be blocked.
Njoy currently owns six of the 23 e-cigarette items that can be legally marketed and sold in the U.S., including the Njoy Ace and five tobacco-flavored items. Juul initially received marketing denial orders for its products, but the FDA is re-examining its case.
The two companies were second and a distant third in U.S. e-cigarette sales as of July 29, according to data from Goldman Sachs. But most retailers already expect Njoy to make big gains with Altria behind it.
“Protecting our intellectual property is critical to achieving our Vision,” said Murray Garnick, executive vice president and general counsel for Altria. “Juul has infringed upon our patents through the sale of its imported products, and we ask the ITC to impose appropriate remedies in response to these trade violations.”
British American Tobacco’s Vuse product is currently the market leader.
The sparring between Altria and Juul comes at a tumultuous time for the vaping space, as the FDA is increasingly cracking down on the marketing, distribution and sale of unapproved vaping devices.
Juul used to be partially owned by Altria. That relationship ended earlier this year, with the tobacco giant selling its stake and buying Njoy instead. Altria’s $2.75 billion acquisition of Njoy closed June 1.