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tobacco plants

R.J. Reynolds wins major patent dispute at ITC involving tobacco heating and vaping products

Clients R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJRT) and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company (RJRV), collectively ("Reynolds")

Jones Day's client Reynolds prevailed against competitors Philip Morris Products S.A. ("Philip Morris") and Altria Client Services LLC ("Altria") in a patent infringement dispute before the International Trade Commission (ITC) involving tobacco heating and vaping products. This win for Reynolds marks a major victory amidst a larger global patent dispute. As a result, Philip Morris faces a possible importation ban of its IQOS® devices and Heatsticks®.

Reynolds accused Philip Morris/Altria's IQOS® product of infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 9,901,123; 9,930,915; and 9,839,238 – all related to electronic smoking devices. On May 14, 2021, following a six-day evidentiary hearing in January 2021, Administrative Law Judge Clark S. Cheney issued the Initial Determination ("ID"), finding that (1) all of the asserted claims of the '123 and '915 patents are infringed and that Philip Morris and Altria failed to show that any of them are invalid; (2) both the technical and economic prongs of the domestic industry requirement are satisfied for all three asserted patents; (3) the Commission should issue a limited exclusion order blocking the importation of the IQOS® product and related Heatsticks® into the U.S.; and (4) the public interest does not preclude such an exclusion order. The ID remains subject to review by the full Commission and a Final Determination is expected on September 15, 2021.

Jones Day also represents Reynolds in U.S. district court cases, including the ITC companion case filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, and a patent infringement case filed by Altria in the Middle District of North Carolina related to certain RJRV VUSE® vaping products (Alto® and Vibe) and the VELO nicotine pouch products. Jones Day is also representing Reynolds in twenty-one PTAB proceedings relating to the patents-in-suit in the ITC and the district court cases, as well as pending litigations in Japan and Korea.

Certain Tobacco Heating Articles and Components Thereof, Investigation No. 337-TA-1199 (ITC); RAI Strategic Holdings, et. al. v. Altria, et. al., No. 1-20-cv-00393 (E.D. Va.); Altria Client Services, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., No. 1-20-cv-00472 (M.D.N.C.); Philip Morris Products, S.A. v. RAI Strategic Holdings, Inc., IPR Nos. 2020-00919 - 00921, -01094, -01097, -01188, -01602; PGR No. 2020-00071 (PTAB); R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company and Modoral Brands v. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC, IPR Nos. 2021-00477 - 00479 (PTAB); R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company et al v. Philip Morris Products S.A., IPR Nos. 2021-00585 - 00586 (PTAB); R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company et al v. Altria Client Services LLC, IPR Nos. 2021-00650, -00652, -00744 - 00747, -00793 (PTAB); R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company et al v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., IPR No. 2021-00725; Philip Morris Products S.A. v. BAT Japan, Tokyo District Court, Case No. H30 (wa) 20178; RAI Strategic Holdings, Inc. and Nicoventures Trading Ltd. v. Philip Morris Japan, Ltd. and Sojitz Corp., Tokyo District Court, Case No. R2 (wa) 25892; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Nicoventures Trading Ltd. v. Philip Morris Japan, Ltd. and Sojitz Corp., Tokyo District Court, Case No. H30 (wa) 25891; RAI Strategic Holdings, Inc. and British American Tobacco Korea Manufacturing Ltd. v. Philip Morris Korea, Inc., Seoul District Court, Case No. 2021Gahap515161

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