Plain Packaging of Cigarettes in Ireland
This past summer Ireland announced that it was going to propose legislation that would make it the first European Union (“EU”) country to introduce plain packaging regulations, reported the Irish Sun. Plain packaging refers to regulations and legislation requiring the removal of all logos, imagery and other branding on tobacco products. Ireland would be, if the legislation passes, the third country worldwide, behind Australia and New Zealand, to bring in the rules around cigarette packaging. Many cigarette manufacturers have already made it public that they will protest the proposed legislation. This is an issue that puts private intellectual property directly in opposition to the desires of the government. When is it all right for a government to prevent an industry from capitalizing on years of business goodwill?