VPR Wins Patent Case, Targets E-Cigarette Industry

VPR Wins Patent Case, Targets E-Cigarette Industry
VPR's patent on an electronic cigarette airflow sensor switch granted validity, leading to lawsuits against companies violating the patent.

On July 12th, 2022, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office upheld the validity of the VPR brand patent, and denied the inter partes review (IPR) application submitted by Jupiter Research, LLC in case number 1. PTAB's decision is final and cannot be appealed.

VPR company owns a patent for an electronic cigarette airflow sensor switch, which dates back to 2009 and covers all electronic cigarette products with electric airflow sensors. The components include a sensor made up of microphones that control battery switches, rather than buttons. This patent covers the foundational design of most electronic cigarettes.

SRIPLAW, P.A. is representing VPR in patent litigation related to cases in Arizona and PTAB's intellectual property review process.

VPR and SRIPLAW have begun identifying and notifying over 50 top companies that have infringed upon their airflow sensor patent. VPR plans to extensively enforce their patent and these companies have been designated as high-priority targets based on sales volume and popularity. Recently, VPR and SRIPLAW's legal team have filed lawsuits against nine of these companies and have stated that they will continue to file additional lawsuits if necessary to protect their intellectual property.

The electronic cigarette industry has reached maturity and continues to grow. VPR believes their patents put them in a unique position as there has been a recent surge in electronic cigarette users. Analysts estimate the electronic cigarette market to reach $6 billion (excluding cannabis and CBD electronic cigarettes).

Most electronic cigarette devices sold in the United States utilize the automatic sensing/buttonless technology. VPR is investigating all buttonless electronic cigarette devices within nicotine, CBD, and cannabis products, suspecting they are all infringing on VPR's patent - the operational principle for these devices is triggered automatically by the user when inhaling.

The company may also seek buyers for the patent in the future. As an example of past sales of e-cigarette patents, another company, "Blu", obtained a US patent for its e-cigarette product. In August 2013, Imperial Tobacco Group purchased the intellectual property behind Blu's e-cigarette for $75 million.

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2FIRSTS Analysis: This patent has significant impact on the majority of electronic cigarette companies. Nine companies have already paid out $500,000 in damages.

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