From July 1st 2010 Australia will be the first country to ban logos, trademarked images and colours on cigarette packaging as part of a new anti-smoking initiative. The move comes after the Australian government raised the tax on cigarettes up by twenty-five percent on Thursday last week.
The new packet designs will feature large graphic images warning users against the negative health effects of tobacco use. Under the laws cigarette companies can only display their brand name using small, inconspicuous regulated fonts featured on the bottom of the packet.
Cigarette companies are expected to fight the decision, sparking a number of debates about intellectual property. The director of intellectual property and free trade at the national Institute of Public Affairs, Tim Wilson explains;
Under Australia’s constitution, if the government basically takes someones property rights including intellectual property such as trademarks, or devalues them to a significant extent, they have to provide compensation
I’d be shocked if they didn’t (pursue compensation), because if it happens here, it’ll happen all over the world.