The Uruguay government announced that the small boxes of the cigarettes will have a plain package in order to reduce the impact on the consumers in their country.
This decision was approved after winning a litigation process between the government and Phillip Morris, the American global cigarette and tobacco company did not agree on removing the trademark from their packages.
At a press conference the Health Minister said, ¨we will work in a plain package and basically the reason is because we think is an effective and efficient measure in order to meet one of the health goals that we have set on this administration period: to reduce the prevalence of non-transmittable diseases; and tobacco plays an important role on this process¨.
With this new measure they seek to eliminate any element or distinctive sign that may be attractive and recognisable for consumers; whether they are linked to colors, flavors, fragrances, or anything that can be identified as attractive.
The box that the Health Minister is designing will only have the trademark of the companies in a unique shape and one color; 80% of the images on the surface of the boxes must be reserved for warning about the risks of smoking.
Our Legal Manager Hasbleydi Calvo, gave her opinion about this decision made in Uruguay, ¨The generic labeling imposed by Uruguayan law clearly doesn’t seek to disadvantage the brands of cigarettes sold in this country, its purposes is to prevail the health of the population, although there’s a violation of the intellectual property rights for this industry¨.
This decision might be an improvement and a good strategy for the health industry and to stop the consumers from smoking tobacco, but not for the cigarettes companies and the registries of their trademarks.
The whole purpose of designing and choosing an attractive trademark with distinctive signs will be lost on this country and the cigarette industry. The brands will have no recognition signs from others and this might make them lose an important asset on the market.