Tobacco Companies Prepare Multi-billion Compensation Claims over UK Plain Packaging

Tobacco companies are preparing to launch what could be one of the biggest ever legal claims against the British Government for losses as a result of the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes. They are expected to begin lodging papers at the High Court as early as Friday, seeking a multi-billion compensation payout for being stripped of the right to use instantly recognisable brands.

Lawyers will argue that forcing them to use entirely unbranded packaging would amount to deprivation of a highly valuable intellectual property. Although the companies would leave it to the court to determine the exact level of compensation, industry analysts have suggested their combined value of the industry in the UK could be as much as £11 billion.

A collective payout on that scale would wipe out almost the whole of the Government’s planned £12 billion welfare savings and dwarf the £8 billion of extra cash for the NHS promised by the Conservatives at the General Election.

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