3M Prevails in Two Foreign Patent Cases

Two manufacturers-one in Canada and another in China-were separately ordered to pay 3M Company a combined $72,950 in damages for infringing on its patents; the Chinese company has appealed.

Maplewood-based 3M Company was recently granted injunctions against two foreign manufacturers of retroreflective products, which were separately ordered to pay the company a combined $72,950 in damages.

Canada-based Eurotex consented to an order that was granted last week in Federal Court in Ottawa. The order determined that the company infringed on a 3M patent for reflective fire coat trim.

The injunction prohibits Eurotex from making, selling, or distributing any products that would infringe on 3M's patent, including the products that Eurotex previously sold under the names TriViz, TrivizMyLite, and FireLiteC. The company was ordered to pay $34,373 in damages to 3M.

Separately, in April, a court in Shanghai, China, ruled that Zhejiang Daoming Reflective Materials Company infringed on one of 3M's patents. The court ordered Daoming to stop manufacturing and selling the products that infringed on 3M's patent and to pay about $38,575 in damages for its past infringement.

Daoming has appealed the ruling, and the enforcement of the judgment will be suspended during the appeal process.

3M has been providing enhanced visibility products for more than 25 years. Its Scotchlite Reflective Material-Fire Coat Trim is designed to enhance the visibility of firefighters and emergency personnel in daylight, as well as low light and nighttime conditions.

In unrelated news, the trial over claims that 3M “botched” a clinical trial for BacLite-a product that it acquired in February 2007 and took off the market in December 2008-was scheduled to begin in London on Wednesday.

The Porton Group, a private equity firm in the United Kingdom, sued 3M in 2008 claiming that the company exhibited “negligence and possible recklessness” through its “botched” clinical trial of BacLite that was performed in November 2007.

3M denies the claims and previously said that the BacLite product was not what it hoped or expected it to be. Donna Fleming Runyon, a 3M spokeswoman, told Twin Cities Business in May that the company purchased the product “with the expectation that it was fully developed and ready to market, but it wasn't.”

3M is Minnesota's fifth-largest public company based on its 2009 revenue, which totaled $23.1 billion. The company reported revenues of $26.7 billion in 2010.