GLOBAL: BIG TOBACCO Take over the Vape Pen Market!

Spread the love

Is a Tobacco Giant Trying to Take Over the Vape Pen Market?

CHRIS ROBERTS December 11, 2018

Altria, the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris whose $1.8 billion investment in a cannabis company was announced Friday, has over the past five years quietly patented dozens of devices that could be used to consume marijuana, a review of public documents at the US Patent and Trademark Office shows.

Altria’s patents and patent applications carry one of several generic descriptions, including “electronic cigarette,” “electronic smoking article,” “e-vaping” device, and “electronic vaping device.”

“They see a downturn in the tobacco industry, and they see this humongous upside in the cannabis industry.”

Michael Cohen, intellectual property lawyer

Many of them bear striking similarities to vape pens and other devices used to consume cannabis that are already on the market, according to patent attorneys and an independent product manufacturer who reviewed the patent filings at the request of Leafly News.

Exactly what Altria plans to do with its new intellectual property is uncertain. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. But intellectual property experts noted that the number and breadth of the patents involved mean Altria could conceivably seek to charge competitors licensing fees or knock them out of the market entirely.

“What’s clear is that they’re making a play at the vaporizer market,” said Larry Sandell, a Washington, DC—based patent attorney. “This will be a good way to achieve dominance in that market.”

As early as the late 1960s and early 1970s, Philip Morris executives have eyed marijuana as a potential growth opportunity. In a confidential 1969 letter to Philip Morris’s research laboratories, Alfred Berger, a professor overseeing the Phillip Morris Fellowship in Chemistry at the University of Virginia, wrote: “The company that will bring out the first marihuana smoking devices, be a cigarette or some other form, will capture the market and be in a better position than its competitors to satisfy the legal public demand for such products.”

For complete article



Leave a Reply