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Altria can no longer sell IQOS vape-style device in U.S. due to patent dispute

Altria can no longer sell IQOS vape-style device in U.S. due to patent dispute
The IQOS device, which is similar to mainstream vaping devices, has been sold by Philip Morris in foreign markets and Altria in the United States.  File Photo courtesy Philip Morris

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Tobacco giants Altria and Philip Morris International can no longer sell or import its vaping-style electronic cigarette in the United States, after a deadline passed over a patent infringement complaint with rival R.J. Reynolds.

Altria and Philip Morris began developing the IQOS years ago and introduced it on the market two years ago. Instead of burning the tobacco, it heats the substance to create an effect similar to mainstream vape products.

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In September, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that the IQOS device infringed on two R.J. Reynolds patents and ordered the companies to halt U.S. sales.

After a two-month review, President Joe Biden's administration decided not to intervene and reject the ITC decision.

"There was no reason to overturn the policy and legal arguments already rejected by the foremost global experts on patent law, and the ITC's exclusion order was properly issued," Gareth Cooper, assistant general counsel at R.J. Reynolds' parent company, said in a statement.

The IQOS device has been sold by Philip Morris in foreign markets and Altria in the United States.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is also expected to make a separate ruling on Reynolds' patent claims next year.

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