During the first quarter of 2016, INTA submitted comments addressing proposed plain packaging legislation for tobacco products to the health ministries of Hungary, Singapore, and Slovenia. INTA’s comments demonstrate the link between trademark-intensive industries and these three nations’ economies and argue that such legislation would result in the obstruction of trademark owners’ rights and the violation of international treaties.
Plain packaging would eliminate the essence of trademarks: their distinctiveness. The Association is also concerned that the plain packaging legislation could create a dangerous precedent for other legal products being viewed by activists as “unhealthy” and becoming subject to such restrictions, thus creating an environment more susceptible to illicit trade. When consumers cannot distinguish goods, they run the risk of buying potentially dangerous counterfeits, given the ease of copying plain-packaged products.
When brand owners lose their ability to monitor and enforce their trademarks, not only are business opportunities lost, but jobs and tax revenue are lost as well. This situation, coupled with conflicts between plain packaging legislation and bilateral and international treaty obligations, can translate into deleterious conditions for both a country’s national economy and for the global economy.
To find out more, visit Testimony and Submissions on inta.org.