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RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled Philip Morris USA does not violate unfair competition laws by exchanging discounts on Marlboros for prime display space in retailers' stores.
This followed the lawsuit by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. against Phillip Morris in April 1999, claiming the company was trying to shut out competition. Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Brown & Williamson later joined the lawsuit against Phillip Morris.
U.S. District Judge Frank W. Bullock Jr. in Durham, N.C., originally ordered Phillip Morris to stop, but in May 2002 dismissed the lawsuit, writing the program, "has induced rivals to compete more vigorously."
R.J. Reynolds appealed and July 2002, and yesterday said it is considering a further appeal, according to reports.