3M Accuses Purell Maker of Patent Infringement

The Maplewood-based manufacturer recently filed a complaint alleging that Gojo Industries is infringing on its foamable products patent.

3M Company recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Akron, Ohio-based Gojo Industries, Inc.

The Maplewood-based manufacturer-along with its 3M Innovative Properties business-accuses Gojo of “infringing, actively inducing others to infringe, and/or contributing to the infringement” of 3M's patent by selling foamable products that include alcohol as a disinfecting or antimicrobial agent, including Purell instant hand sanitizer foam.

According to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records, 3M filed for the patent in January 2006 and was awarded the intellectual property on September 28-the same day that the company filed its complaint against Gojo.

Gojo spokesman Joe Drenik wrote in an e-mailed statement that the company “respects others' intellectual property and does not provide commentary on pending legal matters.”

Gojo produces and markets skin health and hygiene solutions for settings outside of the home. Its portfolio includes products under the Purell, Gojo, and Provon brand names.

3M claims in its complaint that Gojo is “knowing, willful, and objectively reckless, and thus constitutes willful infringement.” The company seeks orders permanently stopping Gojo from infringing on the patent, as well as three times the damages experienced by 3M as determined by the court.

3M-which provides technologies for the consumer, electronics, health care, industrial, and transportation markets-is among Minnesota's 10-largest public companies based on its 2008 revenue of $25.3 billion. The company reported revenue of $23.1 billion in 2009.