Waterford-based e-cigarette company goes in to liquidation

Japan Tobacco begins court action against liquid maker

Different flavours for e-cigarettes are sold in a London shop. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

Different flavours for e-cigarettes are sold in a London shop. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

 

Creditors of Health Smoker Ltd (HSL) put the company into liquidation yesterday, just days before one of the world’s largest tobacco companies begins a legal action accusing it of trade mark breaches.

Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the multibillion euro valued maker of Silk Cut, Mayfair, Camel and Benson & Hedges brands, is due to begin litigation against the Waterford-based maker of liquids used in e-cigarettes or vaping on Monday.

HSL has previously said its business was so successful that it hoped to hire 80 new people in Waterford in the short-term and have a headcount of 1,000 within 12 months.

JTI however has raised concerns for some time about a number of liquids produced by HSL for use in e-cigarettes.

Among the brands that JTI believes infringes on its products are liquids made by HSL called Purple Silk, Calm Desert Brand, Kamel Blend and Myfair E-juice.

The tobacco giant has appointed Arthur Cox to represent its action which is being taken under the Trade Marks Act 1996.

Isabel Foley, a solicitor with Arthur Cox, said in a court filing that JTI was taking the action because its trademarks are being “infringed” and HSL is “without any authorisation whatsoever, attempting to misrepresent to the public that its products are the products of [JTI]or that they have been endorsed or licensed by [JTI].”

This meant she said that the company was “exploiting the goodwill” of her client and was “passing off” its products as the tobacco maker’s goods.

JTI said it was especially concerned about comments by the company that it planned to expand rapidly and produce up to two million bottles per week of its products to be sold to markets as far away as China.