Newport says it’s not stealing Malbroro’s ‘M'

December 5, 2007 - - Lorillard Tobacco Co. is denying that its use of the letter “M” to promote its Newport cigarettes cashes in on Philip Morris USA’s iconic Marlboro brand. The nation’s No. 1 tobacco company filed suit in October in U.S. District Court seeking to block Lorillard from using an “M” in its packaging for Newport, contending it unfairly infringes on its top-selling brand. Lorillard, which is based in Greensboro, N.C., filed an application in February with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “M Newport Blend” and “M Newport Blend The Way to Chill” as trademarks. Lorillard said Richmond-based Philip Morris’ “alleged M mark is not famous” and that “consumers do not associate the letter M alone with Philip Morris at all, let alone exclusively.” Marlboro, the best selling cigarette in the world, is the most popular cigarette in the United States, with a 41.1 percent share of the retail market. Philip Morris said its brands have a 50.6 share. Lorillard, which is a subsidiary of Loews Corp., had a 10 percent share of the U.S. cigarette market. The Newport brand, the best selling menthol cigarette in the United States, had a 9 percent share. Click on images to enlarge..