IP Story by Katzarov: Tobacco brand sharing

IP Story: “I am Swiss adult smoker* and wear clothes with the same brand as the cigarettes I smoke!”

A small Swiss cigarette manufacturer had planned to promote its cigarette brand by launching a range of clothing bearing the same brand name not only in Switzerland but also in France.

The marketing of things is not new, whether it’s a gadget, clothing or perfume (fragrances).

This did not cause any problems in Switzerland.

Indeed, from a legal point of view, brand extension (non-tobacco products or services with existing tobacco brands) remains possible on the Swiss market.

It is also possible to adopt an existing tobacco brand to designate non-tobacco products (reverse brand extension).

On the other hand, our small cigarette manufacturer encountered difficulties in the French market where brand extension (and reverse brand extension) is prohibited as it is considered as an indirect tobacco advertising.

As a result, this small manufacturer has abandoned its project in France.

France is not an exception as this prohibition exists in many other foreign jurisdictions.

Finally, despite the differences under discussion regarding tobacco advertising, particularly aimed at young people (minors), Switzerland remains a European exception when it comes to brand sharing in this sector.

The paradox is that from marketing perspectives, brand stretching has passed its heyday. Now the tobacco companies prefer to remain undetected.

Moral of the story: Advertising has territorial limits, especially in the tobacco sector!

Fascinated by how territorial limits may impact a business’s marketing strategies? Understanding these nuances is crucial when your brand crosses borders. At Katzarov, we specialize in navigating the complex web of Intellectual Property laws to protect your interests. Whether you’re looking to expand your brand internationally or safeguard your existing market position, we’re here to ensure your innovations and branding efforts are securely protected. Let’s work together to develop a robust IP strategy that keeps your brand distinctly yours and maintains your competitive edge.

*Cigarette smoking is injurious to health

Prepared by: Philippe BrottesViktoriia Didur

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