Talking Disputes Special: Philip Morris v. Uruguay

October 27, 2016 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Room C1 (Petal 5), the Graduate Institute, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Geneva

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and WTI Advisors jointly invite you to a panel discussion in Geneva on 27 October 2016.


The event 

This special edition of Talking Disputes series discusses the recent arbitral award in the investor-state disputePhilip Morris v. Uruguay (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/7). This case was filed by Swiss and Uruguayan subsidiaries of the tobacco giant Philip Morris International (jointly referred to as “Philip Morris” or the “Claimants”) in 2010, on the basis of a 1988 bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between Switzerland and Uruguay and the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention).


In this dispute, Philip Morris took issue with Uruguay’s tobacco control measures including a single presentation requirement that allows only one variant of cigarettes per brand family and also the requirement of increasing the size of graphic health warnings from 50% to 80% appearing on cigarette packages. 


In its July 2016 award, the tribunal held that a trademark holder does not enjoy an absolute right of use, free of regulation, and that the use of trademark in commerce is subject to the state’s regulatory power. The tribunal ultimately found that the measures were a valid exercise by Uruguay of its police powers for the protection of public health, and cannot constitute an expropriation of Philip Morris’ investment. The arbitrators also found no violation of the “fair and equitable treatment” requirement under the BIT. The tribunal considered among other issues that the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a point of reference on the basis of which one could determine the reasonableness of the measures. The tribunal also dismissed Philip Morris’ other claims and ordered the Claimants to pay Uruguay $7 million as reimbursement of legal expenses.


Practical info

Venue: Room C1 (Petal 5), the Graduate Institute, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Geneva

Registration: Registration is mandatory. Please register online by COB on Wednesday 26 October 2016

Webcast: This event will also be streamed live online on the event page. Online viewers may send questions through Twitter using the hash tag #TalkingDisputes@ICTSDTradeLaw@WTIAdvisors or through the comment function on the ICTSD event page. Selected questions will be read and addressed by the speakers during the Q&A session.


We look forward to seeing you at the event. 




17:30 Panel Discussion 



Pedro ROFFE, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)


Presentation of the arbitral tribunal’s award in Philip Morris v. Uruguay:

Krista NADAKAVUKAREN SCHEFER, University of Zurich



Sabina SACCO, Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler 

Ernst-Ulrich PETERSMANN, European University Institute 

Benn MCGRADY, World Health Organization (WHO) 


18:30 Open Discussion 


19:30 Reception