• April 16, 2024

PMI Partners with Homeland Security

 PMI Partners with Homeland Security
Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

Philip Morris International has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist and support Homeland Security Investigations’ illicit tobacco trade operations and other intellectual property rights investigations.

“We are thrilled to partner with DHS and the IPR Center to combat the illicit tobacco trade,” said PMI’s head of illicit trade prevention for the U.S. Hernan Albamonte in a statement. “This partnership will provide both parties necessary information to thwart terrorist and criminal organizations that profit from the trade of illicit tobacco and jeopardize our national security.”

The MOU is focused on comprehensive strategies and coordinating efforts to disrupt and combat all forms of illicit tobacco trade, as well as to address vital areas of intellectual property, brand protection, and anti-counterfeiting strategies. The agreement will also facilitate knowledge transfer between the center and PMI to share mutually beneficial information and research to combat the illicit tobacco trade and assist in other intellectual property rights investigations.

“The agreement being signed today, is a continuation of a years-long partnership between the IPR Center and PMI to protect the American public by enforcing the nation’s intellectual property rights laws and educating consumers on the dangers of illicitly traded tobacco products,” said Steve Francis, IPR Center director. “The IPR Center will leverage this robust public-private partnership to develop outreach, training efforts and share referral information to open investigations and target these criminal acts.”

J.B. Simko

“PMI is focused on developing smoke-free alternatives that are a better choice for adults than continued smoking,” said PMI’s Vice President Of External Affairs J.B. Simko. “Our goal is that one day these products will replace combustible cigarettes for good. The illicit trade undermines these efforts by making unregulated products more accessible, so we are determined to do our part to fight it.”