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Imperial Brands to appeal France's cigarette packaging rules

Staff writer |
Imperial Brands' French subsidiary plans to appeal to France's top court against laws that will force cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging from the start of next year.

Seita, the manufacturer of the Gauloises and Gitanes cigarettes smoked by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Serge Gainsbourg, said that its rights to make use of its strong brands "should be respected".

The appeal to the Council of State will not delay the law from being imposed from 1 January, according to the AFP news agency, which first reported the news.

"Our rights to use our brands, several of which were created more than 100 years ago in France, should be respected," Seita said in a statement.

The Gauloise brand dates back to the early 1900s, while in the 1700s Seita held a production and distribution monopoly granted by Louis XIV's controller-general of finances.

But in March, France set out the new laws that will require tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in packages that contain neither logos nor distinctive colouring.

Following in appeal from Winston and Camel brand owner Japan Tobacco International in March, Seita has argued that this decree suppresses "four out of five" elements of a brand under existing French intellectual property laws, thus depriving businesses owners of their rights under the French constitution.

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