Philip Morris International looking at the e-cig business?

PMI Reported To Be In Negotiations With Ruyan
An OfficialWire report on November 4th said Philip Morris International is in negotiations with Ruyan Group, the manufacturer of the original e-cigarette in 2005. According to an article on Quamnet.com, “Ruyan Group said that an agreement between the Company and Philip Morris International Management S.A. could not be reached on matters relating to the co-operation between them on its ‘electronic cigarettes’ by the end of the first and exclusive phase of negotiations.” It is unclear what the news could mean for the e-cigarette industry, but “Philip Morris wants in,” the report said (OfficialWire 11/4).

Can anyone shed light on this possibility? Is it a possibility? Why Ruyan? If not Ruyan then who? Or is someone just blowing a lot of smoke (vapor)? What would this do to all the competition if it became a reality? Could Marlboro one day have an electronic version? What are your thoughts? Does PMI really want in?

19 comments ↓

#1 Bill Godshall on 11.06.09 at 3:22 PM

There could be huge public health benefits worldwide if PMI buys Ruyan or its e-cigarette patents (as PMI has contracts with hundreds of thousands of retailers, and has could place the products alongside Marlboro cigarettes in most favorable store locations). PMI also has badly needed lobbying clout to oppose e-cigarette bans, unwarranted regulations and taxes.

The potential downside is that PMI likely would aggressively litigate against other e-cigarette manufacturers/vendors claiming patent infringement. Unlike Ruyan (which has settled patent infringement cases for relatively small amounts of money), PMI has a lot more lawyers and a lot more money.

It is important to note that PMI does not operate in the US, nor does Ruyan Group, as both operate abroad. Rather PM USA and Ruyan America operate in America.

I’ve heard that there’s an ongoing struggle between Ruyan Group and Ruyan America (which could be related to the reported negotiations with PMI).

I’ve also heard that RJR has bought NicoNovum, which makes NRT products.

Interestingly, PM recently urged the UK to regulate e-cigarette as drug-devices (i.e. like nicotine gums, lozenges, patches).
See page 40 at
http://www.e-cig.org/pdfs/2008-PM-DH.pdf

Things are getting more curious all the time. Meanwhile, increasingly more anti-smoking groups in the US are now absurdly claiming that e-cigarette vapor coud be a pulbic health hazard to nonusers, and are urging local and state officials to ban their use in all workplaces and public places where smoking is banned.

Their strategy is to redefine smoking (in local and state smokefree workplace laws) as including the use of e-cigarettes (including e-cigarettes that contain/emit no nicotine and/or no propylene glycol).

#2 Vapor Vixen on 11.06.09 at 7:14 PM

Bill,

Could you explain the patent issue you mention in your comments? I was at NACS recently and did not see Ruyan at the show. Were they there? I saw NJoy, Krave and Gamucci. I’ve heard that Ruyan has a new product and was looking for them at the show. I love the e-cig. I don’t understand why folks are so up in arms if the product is so much safer. I mean if I know that then what are these folks thinking?

VV

#3 nikky boy on 11.11.09 at 2:45 AM

I heard this was all just a issue regarding the chinese not having any money!

#4 Bill Godshall on 11.11.09 at 3:33 PM

Folks at Ruyan and other e-cigarette companies have confirmed that Ruyan has sued other e-cigarette companies (in different countries) alleging patent infringement, and that Ruyan agreed to settle in exchange for money and allow the other companies to continue marketing their products.

Although Ruyan claims that it owns all e-cigarette patents, other e-cigarette companies are selling significantly more e-cigarettes (at least here in the US) than Ruyan.

Regarding the press release / article by Tiffany Ellis at
http://www.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=43286&catid=143
(which generated this posting), she’s not at the phone number listed for her, and I haven’t received a response from the e-mail I sent her (but her listed e-mail address is also suspect).

#5 Tarheel Boy on 11.19.09 at 1:55 AM

I think PMI would only be interested in getting the product and getting a hold of the patents and just shutting it down as well as all the patent violators as its the only way to protect its signature brand. Pretty puzzling that Ruyan lets folks get away with violating their patents. Are they even selling here in the US now. I never saw them at NACS.

#6 Vapor Vixen on 12.03.09 at 3:11 AM

I saw online that Ruyan is launching a new product called RAPP. Sounds extremely interesting. Seems like they have been very busy after all! Can’t wait to try it once I find out where the product is being sold? If anyone knows let me know?

#7 Bill Godshall on 12.15.09 at 1:46 PM

A correction on my 11/11 posting, as Tiffany Ellis is available at the phone number on the press release (but the voice mail box was full and was listed under her colleague’s name).

Regarding Ruyan America, the company’s website no longer displays any e-cigarette products, and only displays a non nicotine dietary supplement that they are marketing as an alternative for cigarettes.
http://ruyanamerica.com/

Ruyan America has had an agreement with Ruyan Group to market the company’s products in the US.

#8 VA RETAILER on 01.18.10 at 7:48 PM

Bill Godshall – Do you know anything about the patent rights regarding the electronic cigarette. I’m looking at carrying a brand but read somewhere that one of the companies has the patent on the product. Do you know who would be the patent holder?
VA Retailer

#9 first batch of 2010 predictions « Falkon303’s Weblog on 02.05.10 at 9:12 PM

[…] http://www.tobaccotoday.info/2009/11/06/philip-morris-international-looking-at-the-e-cig-business/ […]

#10 NY Guy on 02.16.10 at 2:00 AM

Hey can someone help me understand what I’m supposed to do with my e-cig. It has a universal symbol that says it can’t be thrown in a landfill??? Found this pretty odd!

#11 Big Tobacco, Bad Tobacco. « Smoke On on 05.17.10 at 5:56 PM

[…] is clear that Big Tobacco is in transition.” That was intriguing to me. Another posting said ‘It is unclear what the news could mean for the e-cigarette industry, but “Philip Morris wan….  If they get into the market, maybe they will call off the dog (the US government) about seizing […]

#12 J&J INTERNATIONAL CORP on 07.11.12 at 9:57 PM

HEY FROM WHAT I KNOW THIS COMPANY JUST GOT THE RIGHT’S FOR THE E-CIG AND EGO . J & J INTERNATIONAL CORP AND FOR THE NEW PATENT ZERO TOXINS THAT JUST GOT APPROVED BY THE WORLDS FDA AND UK FDA YOU GUY’S LOOK INTO THIS

#13 cig city on 07.11.12 at 11:07 PM

Is this a self advertisement like the rest of the e-cigarette companies are peddling – too much bs from what I see. everyone claims to own the IP – yeah right – PMI recently at there stockholders meeting said no interest for various reasons and here in the US – 10 companies just got sued by dragonite

#14 True Vape on 07.14.12 at 9:48 PM

Well, your right, but for an old version of the technology that is no longer going to be in circulation due to many of the FDA’s health concerns. There is finally a patented version of the Atomizer that does dont cause health concerns for the user and is the only true vaporizer on the market and this will be the only approved healthy smoking alternative for sale upon the U.S. Market. But this is just what I hear??? Look it up!

#15 cig city on 07.14.12 at 10:20 PM

Another clueless claim – how can you may such a ridiculous statement. Folks that make comments like TV just don’t get it. There is a need for testing. Yes we all know it because of no smoke and none of the harmful additives it is safer but the jury is out on long term use of PG. My bet – it has issues. Plus your scope of vision – only healthy smoking alternative is just nonsense. You really think the FDA will approve of your assessment? Hell will freeze over first!

#16 True Vape on 07.14.12 at 11:35 PM

Well, I know there is a company that took the exclusive rights over the first true atomizing electronic cigarette. Ecig Corp. now has the right to exercise their right over the patent for their atomizer. Everything on the market today is pretty much a cheap knock off version from the black markets Ecig which have all types of health concerns for the user. Two metal contaminates leak into the nicotine solution, one of these contaminates is lead, which leaks into the solutions from the lead solder joints within the cartridges. The other metal contaminate is the metal casing the liquid solution is contained in, it is oxidizing with the solution. To include these two metal contaminates, you have another cancer causing agent from the fiberglass poising thats from the fiberglass woven cotten material which is saterated with the already lead & other metal contaminated nicotine solution. With that said, a new company, Ecig Corp. will now be in charge of regulating the American Market regarding these device to insure the proper true SGS certified and 5 time International & U.S. Gold Medal Atomizing Electronic Cigarette which will soon be approved by the FDA as an approved electronic cigarette device due to Zero carcinogens and no toxic chemical exposure of any kind and is the first and worlds only true patented ecig. I encourage you to take a look at this Global Electronic Cigarette Patent 1: Pub. No.: WO/2009/105919. If you have anymore questions regarding these claims please fee free to contact me via email. I do know this company has a application pending for the FDA and this version of the atomizer is actually already approved from U.K Health Dept which has the same prerequisites as our FDA so my guess is its not soon before they get the approval. Remember SGS has already tested the device and has proven to be safe of any contaminate and certifies the purity of the vapor created, and also took the following 5 Gold Medal Awards:
1. Gold Award at 39th International Exhibition of Invention of Geneva 2011.
2. Gold Medal of American’s Largest Invention & New Products Exhibition (INPEX) of 2011 Pittsburgh USA
3-4. Double Gold Medals of British International Invention & Design of The Year 2011 London
5. Gold Medal of International Trade Fair of Ideas-Invention-New Products Nuremberg Germany 2011
6. Gold Medal at The 4th International Invention Fair in Middle East 2011 Kuwait

What do you think?

#17 Atmosphere on 10.11.12 at 2:05 AM

There are other patents out there that actually patented the whole shabam. The whole e-cig unit itself, incorporating the atomizer unit you claim. Look at the big picture. I think an improvement is not a patent infringement. Go ask another well known competitor…plus, you have to have low prices in this competitive market. E-cigs are out. There’s hundreds of em out there now. Flooded market and customers don’t care if smoking kills them. Otherwise, I’d stop myself. Healthier? I don’t think so. Ugh…

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#19 Lakshman on 12.02.15 at 3:45 PM

They are a bit pricey but I haven’t revceied any malfunctioning parts yet and the battery last like it should, you get what you pay for. Go buy a 7-11 brand battery and you will be back for a duracell the same day right? Cheaper isn’t always better.

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