Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging

This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.


See also:
The basics: how disputes are settled in WTO
Computer based training on dispute settlement
Text of the Dispute Settlement Understanding

Current status  back to top


Key facts  back to top

Short title:
Third Parties:
Agreements cited:
(as cited in request for consultations)
Request for Consultations received:


Summary of the dispute to date  back to top

The summary below was up-to-date at


Complaint by the Dominican Republic. (See also DS434, DS435, DS458 and DS467)

On 18 July 2012, the Dominican Republic requested consultations with Australia concerning certain Australian laws and regulations that allegedly impose trademark restrictions and other plain-packaging requirements on tobacco products.

The Dominican Republic challenges the following measures:

  • Australia's Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, and its implementing regulations, as amended by the Tobacco Plain Packaging Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1);
  • the Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Act 2011; and
  • any related measures adopted by Australia, including measures that implement, complement or add to these laws and regulations, as well as any measures that amend or replace these laws and regulations.

The Dominican Republic claims that Australia's measures appear to be inconsistent with Australia's obligations under:

  • Articles 2.1, 3.1, 15.4, 16.1, 20, 22.2(b) and 24.3 of the TRIPS Agreement;
  • Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the TBT Agreement; and
  • Article III:4 of the GATT 1994.

On 23 July 2012, New Zealand and Uruguay requested to join the consultations.  On 25 July 2012, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Norway requested to join the consultations.  On 26 July 2012, Honduras requested to join the consultations.  On 27 July 2012, Brazil, El Salvador, the European Union and Ukraine requested to join the consultations.  On 30 July 2012, South Africa requested to join the consultations.  On 2 August 2012, Canada requested to join the consultations.  Subsequently, Australia informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, South Africa, Ukraine and Uruguay to join the consultations.

On 9 November 2012, the Dominican Republic requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 17 December 2012, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.


Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

At its meeting on 25 April 2014, the DSB established a panel. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay and Zimbabwe reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Peru reserved their third-party rights.

On 25 April 2014, Australia requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 5 May 2014, the Director-General composed the panel. On 10 October 2014, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the panel expects to issue its final report to the parties not before the first half of 2016, in accordance with the timetable adopted by the panel on 17 June 2014 on the basis of a draft timetable proposed by the parties.


image 160 pixels wide

Find all documents from this case
(Searches Documents Online, most recent documents appear on top)

quick help with downloading
> comprehensive help on Documents Online

all documents


Problems viewing this page?
Please contact webmaster@wto.org giving details of the operating system and web browser you are using.