Fontem Ventures/Imperial Tobacco Group Sues US E-cig Companies for Infringement

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, Fontem Ventures B.V., a Netherlands-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco Group, a British multinational tobacco company headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom and the world’s fourth-largest cigarette company, filed suit against the following US e-cigarette companies: NJOY, Spark Industries (Cig2O). Vapor Corp., LOEC (Blu Cig/Lorillard). FIN Branding/Victory E-cigs. CB Distributors (21st Century Smoke), Logic Technology, VMR Products (V2 Cigs and Vapor Couture) and Ballantyne Brands (Mistic).  The suit alleges patent infringement, citing four patents that Fontem purchased as a part of a portfolio of intellectual property acquired in late 2013 from Dragonite International Limited, China, for $75 million.  This news suggests that Fontem/Imperial is going to be aggressive in asserting its patents and seeking a return on its investment in the Dragonite portfolio.  Despite consistent comments from US e-cigarette companies that the Dragonite portfolio was of dubious value, it appears as if Fontem/Imperial is eager to let the courts resolve the matter.

21 comments ↓

#1 Candy Girl on 03.10.14 at 8:25 AM

These IP issues are not peripheral to the e-cig debate. As long as the court fight continues there will be a reluctance to invest in the studies and research that US and international regulators are demanding. You don’t invest in what you do not or cannot own.

#2 Terry cohen on 03.10.14 at 12:51 PM

We have been subject to every type of harassment imaginable where smoking is concerned. Not this time! Vaping has turned me off of cigarettes and I enjoy vaping. I just wish all of you people interfering to beat it. If Nicoret garbage survives this long and does nothing than just keep your paws off vaping. I was an almost 2 pack a day smoker. Now down to a few vapes a day

#3 TheVaporPlace on 03.10.14 at 1:15 PM

Reading the patent data.
http://news.priorsmart.com/fontem-ventures-v-fin-branding-group-la3h/
It would appear the plaintiffs hold legit patents that clearly describe mainstream e-cig devices like Blu, NJoy and Vuse.
I don’t see this as having much if any impact on my vapor shop business.
My concern is with the proposed 75% sin tax my state plans on levying not only on the Nic Juice but on all e-cig products and accessories.
(I quit smoking after 39 years, using a simple ego battery and ce4 carto kit, you can too!)

#4 Cigalike Patent Wars: Imperial Tobacco Group Sues NJOY, Blu & Others on 03.10.14 at 1:49 PM

[…] property acquired in late 2013 from Dragonite International Limited, China, for $75 million. Fontem Ventures/Imperial Tobacco Group Sues US E-cig Companies for Infringement — TobaccoToday This is what Ruyan was doing for years; In February 2009, Ruyan released a press release […]

#5 Vapor Man on 03.11.14 at 9:57 PM

I find this all intriguing as we now see why Imperial purchased the IP portfolio. I’d be very cautious to say that they might not be a possibility of the patent portfolio including the ego like unit. These type of units have been very popular in Europe and I’m sure Imperial was aware of this unit.

#6 OTP Kid on 03.14.14 at 4:19 PM

Trying to turn water into wine, but will probably turn into mop water

#7 Vapor Man on 03.14.14 at 6:57 PM

Conversation today with another who believes that the patent portfolio captures the tank mod like units! More patents are coming.

#8 OTP Kid on 03.17.14 at 4:24 PM

I tend to think that whatever Imperial does, it’s the wrong move. Lots of history, just sayin’

#9 Vapor Man on 03.19.14 at 7:36 PM

But how big are they Kid?

#10 OTP Kid on 03.21.14 at 4:11 PM

How big are what? Sorry, not understanding

#11 OTP Kid on 03.21.14 at 5:27 PM

Commenting on Fontem Ventures’ (Imperial Tobacco Group) patent
infringement lawsuits against 11 US-based e-cig companies filed earlier this month, The Economist says
“[i]t is unclear how easy it would be for Imperial to enforce” the e-cig patents it bought in 2013 from
Chinese company Dragonite, as the existence of a patent for a “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette”
(http://www.google.com/patents/US3200819) granted in 1965 to Herbert Gilbert, though long expired,
“will make it harder for Imperial to win in court,”

#12 Vapor Man on 03.23.14 at 3:21 PM

OTP Kid – The writer shows his ignorance and I would say is incorrect in his assumptions. It shows that he is unaware of the patent process and that the earlier patents granted have had success. One needs to clearly understand Imperial did not throw $75 million away. I would suggest one actually review the patents and the history little closer rather than just make erroneous statements out side of their scope of knowledge.

#13 Big Tobacco Sues E-cig Companies for Patent Infringement - Electronic Cigarettes on 03.24.14 at 3:03 AM

[…] Wednesday, March 5, Imperial filed an official lawsuit in the federal court of Los Angeles against nine companies: NJOY, Spark Industries (Cig2O), Vapor […]

#14 phoenix electronic cigarettes, e cigarette shops phoenix on 03.27.14 at 4:01 AM

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#15 Vapor Vixen on 04.02.14 at 1:58 AM

that economist article is obviously incorrect – the writer is naïve to the facts – dah if one were to just read some of the other posts here they would see that no one has won against the patent portfolio – the economists article is as bad as the ny times article on nicotine liquids being off the chart toxic

#16 Vapor Vixen on 04.02.14 at 2:01 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/24/business/selling-a-poison-by-the-barrel-liquid-nicotine-for-e-cigarettes.html

#17 Vapor Vixen on 04.02.14 at 2:03 AM

talk about absurdity – who believes everything written by the press? this article should have been posted but I actually get why it might not be because its a bunch of foolishness.

#18 Nittany Blue on 04.03.14 at 2:56 AM

never realized that this was an issue

#19 NJOY and BluCig join B.A.T - move towards 2nd Gen market on 05.30.14 at 8:46 PM

[…] shitty little unrefillable cartomizers. 2. Imperial Tobacco is suing these companies after Imperial purchased the patents from Hon Lik (Ruyan). If so, then the excessive prices on cigalikes, and the purchasing/ownership […]

#20 USA customs starts destroying clones - Page 7 on 06.19.14 at 11:37 PM

[…] … Imperial are now even trying to sue the other Big Tobaccos for using/cloing their technology: Fontem Ventures/Imperial Tobacco Group Sues US E-cig Companies for Infringement — TobaccoToday They may already have plans to stop imports of cigalikes that use Hon Lik's technology. Ruyan […]

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