On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, Fontem Ventures B.V., a Netherlands-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco Group, a British multinational tobacco company headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom and the world’s fourth-largest cigarette company, filed suit against the following US e-cigarette companies: NJOY, Spark Industries Cig2O. Vapor Corp., LOEC Blu Cig/Lorillard. FIN Branding/Victory E-cigs. CB Distributors 21st Century Smoke, Logic Technology, VMR Products V2 Cigs and Vapor Couture and Ballantyne Brands Mistic. The suit alleges patent infringement, citing four patents that Fontem purchased as a part of a portfolio of intellectual property acquired in late 2013 from Dragonite International Limited, China, for $75 million. This news suggests that Fontem/Imperial is going to be aggressive in asserting its patents and seeking a return on its investment in the Dragonite portfolio. Despite consistent comments from US e-cigarette companies that the Dragonite portfolio was of dubious value, it appears as if Fontem/Imperial is eager to let the courts resolve the matter.
lawering up and ready to rumble. What a scrum.