Altria Sues FDA To Keep “Black & Mild” Name

Earlier this month, the Food & Drug Administration expanded its oversight of tobacco products, effectively banning the use of “mild” to describe cigars. That’s a problem for Altria Group, which makes the Black & Mild brand, and so the tobacco behemoth has sued the federal government to keep using the name.

Altria filed the civil lawsuit on Thursday, arguing that the FDA’s new rules violates the First Amendment that protects trademarks and brands, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the FDA’s expanded rules, companies can not sell modified-risk products — those marketed as “Light,” Low,” or “Mild” — without the agency’s authorization.

The company claims that the use of the word “mild” in the cigars’ name describes the “taste and body” of the product and doesn’t convey anything about health, risk, or safety.

Additionally, Altria claims, by banning the use of “mild” in its product, the FDA is violating the Fifth Amendment’s protection against the government’s taking of private property for public use without compensation.

The FDA declined to provide comment to the WSJ on the lawsuit, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

Altria Sues U.S. to Keep ‘Black & Mild’ Cigar Name [The Wall Street Journal]