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3M Claims Gojo’s Purell Sanitizer Infringes One of Its Patents

3M Co., the maker of Scotch tape and Post-it Notes, filed a lawsuit claiming that the Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer made by Gojo Industries Inc. infringes one of its patents.

The patent is for a “foamable alcohol composition” that can be used as a disinfectant, according to the complaint filed yesterday by 3M in federal court in Minneapolis. 3M said it first sued Gojo in January, when the patent was issued. It dropped the suit after receiving an affidavit by Gojo President Mark Lerner “that no accused product had been made or sold” since the patent was issued.

“However, 3M has now learned that, contrary to the Lerner affidavit, Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer Foam having the accused formulations has been made and sold” by closely held Gojo, St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M said in the complaint.

Gojo, based in Akron, Ohio, has said it invented Purell in 1988 for use in food-service and health-care businesses. It later sold the brand, and last year bought it back from Johnson & Johnson’s consumer products unit for undisclosed terms.

The case is 3M Innovative Properties Co. v Gojo Industries Inc., 11cv1867, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Minneapolis).

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