Law360 (June 18, 2020, 6:57 PM EDT) -- 3M Co. has reached a settlement to end one of the many trademark lawsuits it has filed against companies accused of selling price-gouged N95 masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a filing Thursday, 3M moved to drop a case that accused a Florida company called TAC2 Global LLC of using misleading language in an effort to resell millions of 3M masks to the state's Emergency Operations Center at more than four times their list price.
The filing said the two companies had "reached a settlement" to end the case but did not include any other details about the agreement. Neither side immediately provided any terms of the settlement to Law360.
The case against TAC2 was part of nationwide litigation campaign from 3M — the country's largest producer of N95 masks — that aims to use trademark law to fight price-gouging during the pandemic.
Like other cases, the lawsuit claimed TAC2 used misleading tactics to falsely suggest that they are authorized vendors of 3M masks, meaning their inflated prices are approved or endorsed by the company.
In TAC2's case, 3M said the company told Florida officials it had a "contractual relationship with 3M" as well as a "system in which every mask would be inspected by 3M agents."
"Under the guise of appearing affiliated with 3M, defendant attempted to deceive consumers into purchasing masks at highly inflated prices," the suit said. "Defendant is not, and never has been, an authorized distributor or vendor of 3M's products."
"The mere association of 3M's valuable brand with such shameless price gouging harms the brand," 3M wrote.
3M has now filed more than a dozen such trademark cases over price-gouging for N95s. Some defendants have quickly settled, including two companies, King Law Center and 1 Ignite Capital LLC, that were sued the same day as TAC2. Others have been hit with preliminary injunctions, and one New Jersey defendant was later brought up on separate criminal charges.
In a statement, a 3M spokeswoman said the company was pleased to have resolved the case against TAC2.
"Through successful court orders and settlements, we have been able to stop the misconduct alleged in our complaints," Fanna Haile-Selassie said. "We will continue to fight cases of respirator fraud by filling additional lawsuits and coordinating with state and federal law enforcement."
3M is represented by Michael Weaver and Joseph Wasserkrug of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.
TAC2 is represented by Amy E. Stoll and Richard C. Alvarez of Older Lundy & Alvarez.
The case is 3M Co. v. TAC2 Global LLC, case number 8:20-cv-01003, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
--Editing by Haylee Pearl.
Update: This story has been updated with a statement from 3M.
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