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Regulators ban Philip Morris' IQOS tobacco device in U.S. over patent dispute

Regulators ban Philip Morris' IQOS tobacco device in U.S. over patent dispute
The IQOS device is a heat-not-burn tobacco delivery system from U.S. tobacco company Philip Morris. Photo courtesy of Philip Morris

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Federal regulators have ruled that Philip Morris and Altria must stop the sale and import of their IQOS tobacco device in the United States due to a patent dispute.

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Wednesday that the companies infringed on patents owned by R.J. Reynolds in creation of the device.

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The ban stops Altria, which owns Philip Morris, from importing the "heat-not-burn" IQOS devices and selling those that have already been imported.

The ban will take effect in two months after the completion of an administrative review that requires President Joe Biden's signature.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Philip Morris to market the device in 2019, in part because it may contain "fewer toxic chemicals than cigarette smoke."

Philip Morris said it will appeal the trade commission's "puzzling" decision. An Altria spokesperson told CNBC it's working with Philip Morris on contingency plans, but said the company believes there's no patent infringement.

British American Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds' parent company, unsuccessfully pursued similar legal action against Philip Morris' sale of the IQOS device internationally.

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