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3M Sues Amazon Seller For N95 Price Gouging, Trademark Misuse

June 8, 2020, 7:02 PM

3M Co. sued a company in Los Angeles federal court Monday for allegedly selling N95 masks at nearly 20 times more than 3M’s list price.

3M has sued over a dozen entities across the U.S. in a campaign against alleged N95 price gouging and trademark misuse during the Covid-19 crisis. The Monday complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is its first against an Amazon seller.

According to the complaint, Mao Yu’s companies KM Brothers Inc., KMJ Trading Inc., and Supreme Sunrise Inc. began selling N95 masks across three Amazon accounts in February. 3M says the average sale price for the masks was $23.21, while 3M’s list price for comparable products is $1.27. Yu’s companies allegedly made over $350,000 from the mask sales.

3M also says Amazon received “numerous complaints” from customers who received fewer masks than they paid for. For example, one customer said they paid $29.99 to a Yu seller for ten masks and only received “one in a Ziploc bag.”

Amazon has since blocked the sellers’ accounts. In a press release, Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon Vice President, Customer Trust and Partner Support, said that Amazon is “proud to be working with 3M to hold these bad actors accountable.”

3M’s claims have generally been successful, and it has received quick restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in many of its cases.

The complaint said 3M plans to donate any damages it wins to Covid-19 relief efforts.

Causes of Action: Federal trademark counterfeiting, infringement, dilution, unfair competition, false endorsement, false association, false designation of origin, and false advertising; California price gouging and false advertising; common law unfair competition.

Response: Contact information for Yu and his companies wasn’t available.

Relief: Injunctive relief, damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.

Attorneys: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP and Pirkey Barber PLLC represent 3M.

The case is 3M Co. v. KM Bros. Inc., C.D. Cal., No. 2:20-cv-05049, complaint filed 6/8/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at bbrittain@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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