Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products: Landmark Ruling

WIPO Magazine, 2018, Issue 6, 38-42.

5 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2019

See all articles by Matthew Rimmer

Matthew Rimmer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Date Written: December 24, 2018


In July 2018, Australia won what has been hailed as a resounding victory when the WTO dispute panel released its decision. The complex and voluminous judgment and its appendix and addendum, no doubt, will attract a great deal of legal analysis. This article offers a summary of the ruling and immediate reactions to it. After first outlining the public health arguments for plain packaging of tobacco products, the summary examines the various claims that the Australian Act was inconsistent with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It concludes with a discussion of reactions to the decision and the prospects of an appeal by the Dominican Republic and Honduras against the ruling.

Keywords: Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products, Intellectual Property, Trade, Technical Barriers to Trade, TRIPS Agreement, Public Health, WHO Framework Convention on Public Health, GATT

Suggested Citation

Rimmer, Matthew, Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products: Landmark Ruling (December 24, 2018). WIPO Magazine, 2018, Issue 6, 38-42.. Available at SSRN:

Matthew Rimmer (Contact Author)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, Queensland QLD 4000

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