Patents Saves Rear End of Fuma International in Infringement Lawsuit

On Monday May 24, 2021, a North Carolina federal court ruled that RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company’s popular e-cigarettes Vuse Solo and Vuse Ciro infringe Fuma International’s patent assets. Fuma claims RJR copied its e-cigarette designs after a meeting between the two in 2010 where Fuma unveiled its vape technology to RJR under a confidentiality agreement to see if RJR would be interested in investing or a joint venture. Fuma International’s U.S. Patent Nos. 9,532,604 & 10,334,881 granted in January 2017 and July 2019, respectively, were both found to be infringed by RJR’s vape products. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles found the Vuse Solo and Vuse Ciro to infringe two out of three relevant components of the patent assets and suggested that the third component be decided through trial as well as the damages. 

Had Fuma International dragged its feet with its patent filings it may not have been able to prove that RJR stole components of its vape designs. Now that one vape company has taken a shot at patent infringement, we may see many more come about. In particular, we are watching for John Cameron’s (brother of famed director James Cameron) next steps with his company Lunatech, LLC. Lunatech, LLC is a non-practicing entity with the largest vaporizer for cannabis patent portfolio which has made it the second largest assignee in the cannabis sector behind GW Pharmaceuticals. The Fuma International vs. RJR lawsuit may have opened Lunatech up for the same endeavor. Only time will tell and we will be following closely at Patent Forecast®.

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