S KOREAN FIRM SUES BAT OVER ALLEGED TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

NASHIR MANSOR

SEOUL, Nov 29 (Bernama) -- Vitabon Co, a South Korean venture firm, said Friday it has launched a trademark infringement suit against tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT), Yonhap news agency reported, quoting a Vitabon’s official.

Vitabon claims that its nicotine-free aromatherapy device, named Sense, and BAT's hybrid e-cigarette product, glo sens, confuse consumers due to their similar names.

Vitabon said it has filed the lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court, demanding 110 million won (US$93,000) in compensation and that manufacturing and sales of glo sens be banned in the country.

"Despite the fact that Vitabon Sense is a product designed to help customers quit smoking and glo sens is an e-cigarette product, the methods of use are very similar and their customer bases very close," a Vitabon official said.

"Vitabon Sense was also released prior to glo sens," the Vitabon official added.

BAT Korea said it plans to file a countersuit against Vitabon, saying that the names of the two products are not confusing to consumers at all.

-- BERNAMA