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Cowboy Showdown: Philip Morris Aims at Small Electronic Cigarette Company

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V2 Cigs Rebrands “V2 Cowboy” to “V2 Red”

March 14th, 2011—V2 Cigs, the fastest growing electronic cigarette company in the United States, has resolved a trademark dispute with Philip Morris USA, Inc., one of the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers. 

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have exploded in popularity in recent years, catching the eye of Big Tobacco. Philip Morris recently targeted V2 Cigs, distributed by VMR Products, LLC, claiming their “Cowboy” flavor infringed and diluted the Marlboro trademark.   Philip Morris alleged the appearance of the V2 Cigs graphic was likely to confuse consumers with the tobacco giant’s “Marlboro Man” trademark.--readmore--

In response to Philip Morris’ demands, V2 Cigs has agreed to change the imagery and name of their “Cowboy” product, while keeping the same popular flavor. The company renamed it “V2 Red” and changed the imagery to one of a modern maverick -- a motorcyclist riding into the sunset.

The V2 Cigs “Cowboy” (V2 Red) flavor is one of many sold on its website (http://v2cigs.com).

 Other flavors include Vanilla, Coffee, Menthol and Peppermint, but according to Jay Meistrell, a senior executive at V2 Cigs, the “Cowboy” flavor is the most popular as it mimics the smooth tobacco flavor most smokers prefer.

Despite the challenges, V2 Cigs stands behind its products. “The testimonials of our customers speak for themselves—their amazing stories of lifetimes spent smoking cigarettes and the damage tobacco caused to their health and their families,” says Meistell of V2 Cigs. “People have found a satisfying and healthier alternative to tobacco. The personal triumph they express proves the benefits of our products.”

Electronic cigarettes function by converting a flavored nicotine or non-nicotine solution into a water vapor which tastes, feels and looks like a traditional cigarette. However, the water vapor does not contain the harmful chemicals or smell of tobacco smoke, making it an easy and desirable alternative for long term smokers. The flavor solutions are sold in disposable cartridges, which customers purchase along with a rechargeable battery in the approximate size and shape of a traditional cigarette.

According to recent studies led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher Michael Siegel and John Ayers, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the success of electronic cigarettes can be attributed to two main factors; effectiveness in mimicking cigarettes and increasingly stringent smoking bans.

“This study suggests that electronic cigarettes are helping thousands of ex-smokers remain off cigarettes,” said lead author of the Boston University study, Michael Siegel. The popularity of electronic cigarettes has risen dramatically since their introduction to the US in 2004.