Jury Awards PMI $10 Million in Vuse Patent Violation Suit

Credit: Aleksandar Radovanov

Philip Morris International was awarded $10.7 million by a jury in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday after finding rival R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co’s Vuse e-cigarettes violate its patent rights.

The federal court jury said RJR’s Vuse Solo and Alto devices infringe two Philip Morris patents covering parts of a vaping device for heating substances and preventing leaks. The case is part of multi-front patent dispute between Philip Morris and RJR parent company BAT.

A spokesperson for Winston-Salem, N.C.-based RJR said the company was disappointed by the infringement findings and said it may appeal, but was pleased that the jury cleared its Vuse Alto of infringing one of the patents, according to Reuters.

A Philip Morris spokesperson said the company was “grateful” for the verdict, which “rejects an attempt by BAT to free-ride on our hard work and investment.”

RJR’s Vuse line is one of the two top-selling e-cigarette brands in the United States, along with Juul. The Tuesday verdict concerned counterclaims in RJR’s ongoing patent lawsuit over Philip Morris’ IQOS heated-tobacco device, which is on hold.