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Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco settle patent infringement

LONDON (Reuters) - Fontem Ventures, a unit of Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT.L), said on Friday that it entered into a licence agreement with Japan Tobacco International (2914.T) that settles patent infringement lawsuits concerning e-cigarette technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fontem has granted Japan Tobacco a global licence to certain patents for e-cigarettes, which are metal tubes that heat nicotine-laced liquid into an inhalable vapour.

The deal with Japan Tobacco follows two similar agreements Fontem announced last month, with the companies behind the NJOY, 21st Century Smoke and Vapin Plus brand e-cigarettes.

Together, these deals settle three of eight patent infringement cases Imperial filed in the United States in March 2014.

The lawsuits followed Imperial's 2013 acquisition of global e-cigarette patents from Hong Kong-based Dragonite International, whose co-founder Hon Lik, is credited with inventing the e-cigarette.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller. Editing by Jane Merriman)