R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. has asked for a new trial after a U.S. District Court awarded rival Altria Client Services $95.23 million in damages related to an e-cigarette intellectual property dispute, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.
In early September, a federal jury determined that Reynolds Vapor’s Vuse Alto product infringes on three Altria patents.
In its retrial request, Reynolds Vapor stated that “Altria’s improper injection of inflammatory evidence regarding patent infringement allegations against Reynolds in other cases denied Reynolds a fair trial. Erroneous evidentiary rulings also prejudiced Reynolds’ ability to present its defense. Those errors independently, and under the cumulative error doctrine, affected the verdict such that a complete new trial is required.”
Altria said in a statement that “this was a fair trial. There is no basis for another trial, and we are pleased that the jury correctly found that Reynolds Vapor has infringed a number of our patents.”
The complaint concerns three patents awarded to Altria Client Services by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office based on filings in April 2015.
Altria alleged Reynolds Vapor violated Altria’s patents covering the pod assembly used in Vuse Alto.
Reynolds believes the lawsuit was filed in retaliation for patent infringement complaints filed by Reynolds in April 2020 for infringement by Philip Morris International’s IQOS tobacco-heating device of six Reynolds patents.
Until recently, Altria was the exclusive U.S. distributor for IQOS in the United States.
On Sept. 29, 2021, the U.S. International Trade Commission upheld an initial determination from May 2021 that Philip Morris International’s IQOS device infringes on two patents owned by Reynolds. The ruling barred Altria Group from importing IQOS products into the U.S.