Beginning in March, at a time when COVID-19 was at its peak, 3M fell victim to several counterfeit and price gouging cases where vendors were selling fake 3M N95 masks at inflated prices.
According to Bloomberg Law, 3M settles with two companies it says took advantage of the pandemic outbreak by infringing on trademarks and price gouging the masks.
On June 19, 3M and Hulomil LLC told Wisconsin courts they settled their dispute. The pair moved to enter a permanent injunction, prohibiting Hulomil from “selling 3M products except through an authorized distributor, holding itself out as an authorized distributor, or using 3M’s trademarks unless it’s dealing with an authorized distributor,” according to the Bloomberg article.
3M’s filing accused Hulomil of offering N95 masks for 250%-350% over 3M’s prices.
Additionally, on June 19, Florida federal judge dismissed 3M’s case against TAC2 Global LLC after the pair told the court they settled. On April 30, 3M sued TAC2 and won a temporary restraining order barring the company from holding itself out as an authorized 3M distributor.
In other recent news, as reported by NBC Chicago, 240 counterfeit 3M masks were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at O’Hare International Airport on May 30.
The article says import specialists noted “industrial masks” package with “poor packaging” and sent it to a 3M authenticator to review. Upon evaluation, the masks were deemed to be counterfeit.
These settlements and seizures aren’t anything new for 3M. According to the company, “3M has filed more than a dozen lawsuits in its fight against fraud, price gouging, and counterfeiting. 3M has won five temporary restraining orders and four preliminary injunction orders from courts across the country that put a stop to other defendants’ unlawful and unethical profiteering from the pandemic.”
To date, 3M has successfully secured the removal of more than 3,000 websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings from e-commerce platforms around the world, more than 4,000 false or deceptive social media posts, and more than 100 deceptive internet addresses.
3M has deployed its internal and external litigation team in its efforts to combat fraud.
To stay updated, visit 3M’s News Center here.