Recent moves by the company indicate it is exchanging the cigarette for the similar-looking cannabis device
Marlboro cigarette manufacturer Altria has been in the news a lot lately. It has invested almost $2 billion in marijuana company Cronos as it looks to move away from tobacco and could eventually stage a coup to take over Cronos completely. It appears that the company has been strategically planning its offense for the past several years without anyone realizing it and is preparing itself to try and take over the marijuana vaporizer market.
Altria has filed a number of patents over the past five years for dozens of devices that are tied to marijuana consumption. Among the applications the company has filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office are filings that cover “electronic cigarette,” “electronic vaping device” and “e-vaping device,” among others.
The majority of the filings resemble vape pens. What it plans on doing with all of the patents, if approved, isn’t yet known, but intellectual property experts believe that Altria could consider charging licensing fees or work to completely eliminate the competition. According to DC-based patent attorney Larry Sandell, “What’s clear is that they’re making a play at the vaporizer market. This will be a good way to achieve dominance in that market.”
It makes perfect sense for Altria to get into marijuana. Tobacco sales have steadily declined for more than a decade and there is no evidence that this trend will continue. It has already been predicted that big tobacco would be the next industry to join the marijuana sector and, with international reaches and a long track record of success, there’s little chance that the tobacco companies will fail.