If a patent-infringement lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds goes before a jury it could have enormous repercussions for the industry.
Star Scientific of Virginia is suing R.J. Reynolds, claiming the company infringed on its patent for its reduced-toxin tobacco. Star Scientific founder Jonnie Williams says that Brown and Williamson agreed to buy the "starcured" tobacco in 1999. But shortly after learning of Star's innovation the Winston Salem based company announced that it had a similar system to reduce tobacco toxins.
Both sides are waiting for a federal judge to decide whether the case will go to a jury.
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