Imperial Tobacco Group Plc’s Fontem Ventures subsidiary recently announced that it had entered into a license agreement with Japan Tobacco International (JTI) to settle a patent infringement lawsuit over e-cigarette technology.
The legal quarrel began last March, when Imperial filed eight patent infringement cases in the United States against its Japanese rival and other e-cigarette makers. The lawsuits followed Imperial’s 2013 acquisition of global e-cigarette patents from Hong Kong-based Dragonite International, whose co-founder Hon Lik is credited with inventing e-cigarettes.
Under the terms of this agreement, Fontem has granted Japan Tobacco a global licence to certain patents for e-cigarettes. The financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.
Fontem has struck similar deals with the makers of the NJOY, 21st Century Smoke, and Vapin Plus brand e-cigarettes. Together with the JTI deal, these agreements cover three of the patent infringement cases filed by Imperial Tobacco last year. Fontem is the owner of blu, one of the leading e-cigarette brands in the US and the UK.