Japanese Tobacco Firm Halts Legal Action against Waterford Firm

Japan Tobacco International has halted its legal proceedings against Healthier Smoker Ltd (HSL) after the Waterford-based firm’s liquidator agreed on Tuesday to destroy all products and materials within its control that infringe the multibillion tobacco giant’s property rights.

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Darren Flanagan, an accountant with DMFN Chartered Accountants, was appointed as liquidator of HSL on August 29th, just days before JTI was due to begin legal proceedings against it seeking to stop it breaching its trademarks.

Suppliers pulled the plug on HSL after they became aware of the case being taken by JTI which makes Silk Cut, Mayfair, Camel and Benson & Hedges cigarettes.

HSL made liquids used in e-cigarettes under a number of different names, including Purple Silk, Calm Desert Brand, Kamel Blend and Myfair E-juice, all of which JTI alleged breached its trade marks.

In the High Court on Tuesday, HSL’s liquidator said he had destroyed all offending stock in his possession and was working to reclaim and destroy stock in retail outlets.

“HSL’s use of JTI’s distinctive branding infringed our intellectual property.

Despite our requests to HSL to cease and desist from breaching our intellectual property they refused to co-operate, leaving us with little alternative but to seek recourse in the courts,” JTI said in a statement.

“We welcome the court orders which give us the ability of enforcement ultimately through contempt proceedings if they are not observed.
“Our brands are our most valuable assets and JTI will not hesitate to take legal action to protect them if necessary.”

Mr Flanagan told The Irish Times yesterday he was in talks with a third party to sell it the assets of HSL. He said he was unable to comment further as these discussions had not concluded.

HSL had also received legal warnings from other major tobacco companies as well as the makers of Coca Cola and Red Bull over alleged trade mark infringements prior to its liquidation.