Australia - Plain Packaging Requirement Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging

In 2012 and 2013, Honduras, Indonesia, Cuba and Dominican Republic brought complaints in the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming that Australia's tobacco plain packaging laws breached the WTO agreements. The complaining countries argued that Australia’s law breached the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) by failing to provide required protections to trademarks rights and because it is an unjustifiable encumbrance on the use of tobacco trademarks; and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) because it is more trade-restrictive than necessary to fulfill a legitimate objective.

On May 7, 2014, Australia submitted to the WTO Panel a request for a preliminary ruling concerning procedural objections, namely that the Dominican Republic failed to identify the specific measures at issue. The Panel ruled that the Dominican Republic’s panel request was properly filed.


Australia – Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging, WT/DS441/19, 27 October 2014.

  • Australia
  • Oct 27, 2014
  • World Trade Organization Dispute Panel


Plaintiff Dominican Republic

Defendant Australia

Third Party

  • Argentina
  • European Union
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Indonesia
  • Mexico

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product