Country: Norway

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Philip Morris Norway v. Health and Care Services of Norway [Norway] [September 14, 2012]

Philip Morris Norway challenged Norway's ban on the display of tobacco products at retail establishments.  A European court, ruling on European law, determined that the domestic Norwegian court must decide whether "the measure is necessary to achieve the stated goal, and that goal cannot be reached using less extensive prohibitions or restrictions or prohibitions or restrictions that affect trade within [Europe] less."  The Norway court determined that the display ban is necessary and that no alternative, less intrusive measure could produce a similar result.  The court upheld the ban and ordered Philip Morris to pay legal fees.  

Philip Morris Norway AS v. The Norwegian State [Norway] [September 12, 2011]

An importer of tobacco products sued Norway before the Oslo District Court, alleging that the Norwegian ban on tobacco advertising, which included a prohibition on visual product displays in retail locations, was incompatible with the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA). Accordingly, quantitative restrictions on imports and measures having the same effect are prohibited unless they are justified by non-arbitrary and non-discriminatory public health grounds. Prior to issuing an opinion in the case, the district court requested two preliminary rulings from the Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association States (EFTA) Court (presented in this decision.)  The EFTA Court determined that if the ban did not affect the tobacco products manufactured in Norway as much as it affected the tobacco products imported from other EEA States, the ban would be incompatible with the EEA. Further, the EFTA Court declared that the district court would have to decide whether Norway’s ban was necessary -- that Norway’s legitimate health objective of reducing tobacco use could not be achieved by measures less restrictive than a tobacco product display ban.