Smokeless Rivals Square Off

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Smokeless Rivals Square Off

NEW YORK -- Smokeless tobacco manufacturer Swedish Match filed an antitrust suit against rival U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., a unit of UST Inc., alleging illegal and exclusionary marketing practices.

The suit comes after a federal appeals court in May upheld a jury verdict against U.S. Smokeless Tobacco in an antitrust suit brought by another rival, privately held Conwood Co. UST is appealing that ruling, which called for the company to pay $1.05 billion in damages to Conwood, Reuters reported.

Swedish Match seeks a permanent injunction and alleges substantial antitrust damages resulting from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco's use of what it called illegal, exclusionary tactics to suppress competition, raise prices and stifle innovation in the U.S. moist snuff tobacco market, the report said.

The suit also names as defendants U.S. Tobacco affiliated companies. Greenwich, Conn.-based UST, whose products include Copenhagen and Skoal smokeless tobacco, has yet to comment on the suit.

Swedish Match, based in Stockholm, Sweden, makes tobacco products, matches and disposable lighters that are sold in about 140 countries.