Less risky nicotine products like heated tobacco sticks were meant to help cigarette companies stay out of court. Instead, they are causing a spike in patent lawsuits.
In September, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Philip Morris International and Altria must stop imports of IQOS heated tobacco sticks due to a patent dispute with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, which is owned by U.K.-listed British American Tobacco. The case is now in review and can be appealed. But in the worst-case scenario, IQOS will be banned from the lucrative American tobacco market.