Smoking Guns

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

The bright red pack of John Player with ‘Gold Leaf’ in gold lettering is a common sight in just about any retail outlet in Sri Lanka. Now John Player is in Courts. The bright red pack of John Player with ‘Gold Leaf’ in gold lettering is a common sight in just about any retail outlet in Sri Lanka. Now John Player is in Courts.

This time though, John Player is not before Courts to defend itself against ugly accusations from anti-tobacco activists but is asking for legal protection for its brand identity.

The Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), Sri Lanka’s sole cigarette manufacturer is taking copycat brands before the law on trademark violation.

“The John Player Gold Leaf trade mark is owned by Ceylon Tobacco. So we are taking action against trademark infringement,” said a top official from the company on Monday displaying two identical packs of John Player, an original and a copycat.

The copycat Players were unearthed in November last year when local customs detected a large consignment of smuggled cigarettes.

Out of the six million smuggled cigarettes nearly one million were packaged to look like the premier CTC brand John Player – and would have so