Imperial Tobacco subsidiaries Fontem Ventures BV and Fontem Holdings BV filed complaints in federal court against R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. and NuMark LLC on Monday, suing for what it is calling unlawful use of four patented technologies.
Previous lawsuits have been filed against Lorillard, which makes blu eCigs, as well as NJoy Inc., Ballantyne Brands LLC of Charlotte, maker of the Mistic brand, and Vapor Corp. The lawsuits are in U.S. District Court for the Central Circuit of California, according to a story in the Winston-Salem Journal.
Altogether, the Fontem companies are a party in 84 complaints, including 20 that are open. The filing began March 5, 2014, with undisclosed settlements reached in some lawsuits.
Reynolds Vapor manufacturers Vuse, the top-selling U.S. e-cig product, while NuMark, an affiliate of Philip Morris USA, makes MarkTen.
The Fontem companies again focus their claims of patents for rechargeable e-cigs, cartridge refill packs, batteries and disposable e-cigs. Fontem said it obtained patents on its technology in February 2013.
Both Reynolds and NuMark have developed internal e-cig technology.
Fontem accuses Reynolds Vapor of patent infringement in its Vuse solo rechargeable digital vapor cigarettes and its Connect power units.
For example, Fontem repeats the legal accusation it made against Lorillard in that Reynolds Vapor is in infringement with its cartridge technology, in particular when it says it does not allow another e-cig product to be used with Vuse products.
Fontem is suing for an undisclosed amount of damages because of “irreparable harm” done to the companies, including lost market share and lost profits on infringing sales.
Reynolds said it is its policy not to comment on pending litigation.