3M sues over mask 'illegal price-gouging' claims

15 Apr 2020 , 8:34pm

In one of the first major trademark lawsuits over the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is taking action with proceeds going to related nonprofit organisations.

Chicago law firm Mayer Brown has filed a lawsuit on behalf of face mask manufacturer 3M Company in federal court in New York City against New Jersey-based Performance Supply LLC, alleging illegal price-gouging and deceptive trade practices in the sales of 3M-branded N95 respirators to New York City officials.

The lawsuit claimed that during a time when the New York City Office of Citywide Procurement is tasked with filling New York’s dire and immediate need for personal protective equipment for its inundated frontline health care workers, Performance Supply “offered to sell $45 million in N95 respirators to New York City officials at prices 500-600% over 3M’s list price.” The complaint seeks injunctive relief to require Performance Supply to cease its illegal activities, and also requests damages, with 3M promising that any damages recovered will be donated to COVID-19 related nonprofit organisations. This is one of the first major trademark lawsuits stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayer Brown’s four-office, multidisciplinary litigation and intellectual property team, which is assisting 3M’s efforts to curb price-gouging, false advertising and other improper business practices with respect to 3M’s masks, N95 respirators, and other personal protective equipment, is being led by partners Carmine Zarlenga (Washington DC), John Mancini, Andrew Calica (both New York), Richard Bulger, Kristine Young and Richard Assmus (all Chicago).