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LALIVE (formerly known as Lalive Budin & Partners) is a law firm based in Switzerland, with offices in Geneva, Zurich, and Doha (Qatar).1
One of the firm’s areas of expertise is ‘Investment Arbitration’.2

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

LALIVE has worked for Philip Morris International (PMI).34

2010-2016: Represented Tobacco Company in Lawsuit Against Uruguay

In 2010, LALIVE was one of three law firms that represented PMI in its lawsuit against the government of Uruguay for allegedly breaching the 1991 Switzerland-Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty by introducing tobacco policies affecting tobacco packaging and trademarks.35 LALIVE laywers who worked on the case included Veijo Heiskanen, Franz Stirnimann, and Samuel Moss.6 The case was dismissed in 2016.5

2009: Prepared Report Arguing Against Tobacco Plain Packaging

In July 2009, two years before Australia became the first country to introduce the mandatory requirement for the plain packaging of tobacco products, PMI commissioned LALIVE to prepare a report summarising alleged legal concerns with this tobacco policy. The result was a report titled ‘Why Plain Packaging is in Violation of WTO Members’ International Obligations under TRIPS and the Paris Convention”,4 which claimed that plain packaging was a severe breach of intellectual property (IP) rights, and warned that those countries imposing this measure would expose themselves to World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings.
LALIVE’s report was used by PMI to undermine legitimate independent evidence on plain packaging and lobby decision makers in the Netherlands78, Australia, and the the UK against plain packaging. The report was also cited by other tobacco industry-funded research on plain packaging, including a paper written by law firm Bird and Bird LLP.9
LALIVE’s report was one of many third-party reports opposing plain packaging. Specifically it was used to voice one of the tobacco industry’s main arguments against plain packaging – that the policy breached IP rights.

Other Affiliations


In 2012, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) criticised LALIVE for making money by pitting corporations against governments, whilst at the same time running e-learning courses on investment arbitration for UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.10 In September/October 2016, LALIVE and UNITAR ran the course ‘Introduction to Investment Arbitration’.11

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

LALIVE’s website

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  1. LALIVE, The Firm, undated, accessed October 2017
  2. LALIVE, Areas of Practice, undated, accessed October 2017
  3. abFTR Holding S.A. (Switzerland), Philip Morris Products S.A. (Switzerland) and Abal Hermanos S.A. (Uruguay), Request for arbitration under the rules of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, from Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website, 19 February 2010, accessed October 2017
  4. abLALIVE, Why Plain Packaging is in Violation of WTO Members’ International Obligations under TRIPS and the Paris Convention, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, 23 July 2009, Bates no. JB2818, accessed October 2017
  5. abC. Olivet, A. Villareal, Who really won the legal battle between Philip Morris and Uruguay?, The Guardian, 28 July 2016, accessed October 2017
  6. Request for Arbitration FTR Holding SA, Philip Morris Products S.A. and Abal Hermanos S.A. v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay, 19 February 2010, Italaw online database, accessed October 2010
  7. Unknown, RE: plain packaging, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, 6 October 2009, Bates no: JB0513, accessed October 2017
  8. Unknown, plain packaging, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, 28 September 2009, Bates no: JB3818, accessed October 2017
  9. P. Johnson, Trade marks without a brand: the proposals on “plain packaging” of tobacco products, European Intellectual Property Review 2012, 34(7):461-470
  10. Corporate Europe Observatory, Chapter 3: Legal vultures: Law firms driving demand for investment arbitration, 27 November 2012, accessed October 2017
  11. UNITAR, UNITAR and International Law Firm LALIVE Offer Online Course on Introduction to Investment Arbitration, July 2016, accessed October 2017