Sunday, June 19, 2005

Star Scientific v R.J. Reynolds

Patent infringement case in the tobacco industry.

from WAVY through AP:

A Chesterfield County company is waiting to see whether its patent-infringement lawsuit against tobacco giant R-J Reynolds can go before a jury. The decision could have enormous repercussions for the industry.

Star Scientific of Chester is suing R-J Reynolds, claming the company infringed on its patent for its reduced-toxin tobacco. Star Scientific founder Jonnie Williams says that Brown and Williamson agreed to buy the "StarCured" tobacco in 1999. But shortly after learning of Star's innovation -- R-J Reynolds announced that it had a similar system to reduce tobacco toxins.

Both sides are waiting for a federal judge in Baltimore to decide whether the case will go to a jury.

Analysts say R-J-R conceivably could be forced to pay billions of dollars in royalties and damages if Star prevails.


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