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Altria Seeks Importation Ban of JUUL E-Vapor Products; Files Patent Infringement Actions Against JUUL Labs

8/22/2023

Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) today announces that its subsidiary, NJOY, has filed a complaint against JUUL Labs, Inc. (JUUL) with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The complaint seeks a ban on the importation and sale of certain JUUL e-vapor products, including its currently marketed JUUL device and JUULpods. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the JUUL products infringe certain patents owned by NJOY.

“Protecting our intellectual property is critical to achieving our Vision,” said Murray Garnick, Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “JUUL has infringed upon our patents through the sale of its imported products, and we ask the ITC to impose appropriate remedies in response to these trade violations.”

NJOY has also filed a complaint against JUUL in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware based on the same patent infringement. NJOY ACE is currently the only pod-based e-vapor product to receive marketing authorization from the FDA, which deemed the marketing of the ACE device and three ACE tobacco-flavored pods as “appropriate for the protection of public health.”

Background on Asserted Patents

NJOY’s ITC complaint against JUUL alleges trade violations associated with the sale of imported products that infringe U.S. Patent No. 11,497,864 and U.S. Patent No. 10,334,881 (collectively, the Asserted Patents). NJOY acquired the Asserted Patents from Fuma International, LLC (Fuma) concurrently with the settlement of a patent infringement lawsuit filed against us by Fuma.

Altria’s Profile

We have a leading portfolio of tobacco products for U.S. tobacco consumers age 21+. Our Vision is to responsibly lead the transition of adult smokers to a smoke-free future (Vision). We are Moving Beyond Smoking™, leading the way in moving adult smokers away from cigarettes by taking action to transition millions to potentially less harmful choices - believing it is a substantial opportunity for adult tobacco consumers, our businesses and society.

Our wholly owned subsidiaries include leading manufacturers of both combustible and smoke-free products. In combustibles, we own Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), the most profitable U.S. cigarette manufacturer, and John Middleton Co. (Middleton), a leading U.S. cigar manufacturer. Our smoke-free portfolio includes ownership of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC), the leading global moist smokeless tobacco (MST) manufacturer, Helix Innovations LLC (Helix), a leading manufacturer of oral nicotine pouches, and NJOY, LLC (NJOY), currently the only e-vapor manufacturer to receive market authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a pod-based e-vapor product.

Additionally, we have a majority-owned joint venture, Horizon Innovations LLC (Horizon), for the U.S. marketing and commercialization of heated tobacco stick products and, through a separate agreement, we have the exclusive U.S. commercialization rights to the IQOS Tobacco Heating System® and Marlboro HeatSticks® through April 2024.

Our equity investments include Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (ABI), the world’s largest brewer, and Cronos Group Inc. (Cronos), a leading Canadian cannabinoid company.

The brand portfolios of our tobacco operating companies include Marlboro®, Black & Mild®, Copenhagen®, Skoal®, on!® and NJOY®. Trademarks and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the property of Altria or our subsidiaries or are used with permission.

Learn more about Altria at www.altria.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1955. These forward-looking statements relate to legal proceedings instituted by us. Litigation is inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, and we cannot predict the outcome of any litigation proceedings. Other risk factors are detailed from time to time in our publicly filed reports, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to provide any revisions to, or update, any projections and forward-looking statements contained in this release.

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Source: Altria Group, Inc.