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3M Sues Chinese Manufacturer, U.S. Distributor for Patent Infringement on Paint-Spraying Products

The lawsuit alleges that certain automotive paint-spraying products made by Phoenix Automotive Refinishing in China and distributed by K2 Concepts in the United States violate seven 3M patents.

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3M and 3M Innovative Properties have filed a federal lawsuit against California-based K2 Concepts and China-based Phoenix Automotive Refinishing, alleging multiple counts of patent, trademark and copyright infringement.

The lawsuit alleges that certain automotive paint-spraying products made by Phoenix Automotive Refinishing in China and distributed by K2 Concepts in the United States violate seven 3M patents. The patents are for 3M’s PPS technology “that enables the efficient mixing and spraying of coatings for automotive collision repair and other applications,” according to 3M.

The lawsuit also alleges that Phoenix’s marketing materials for the same products infringe 3M’s registered copyright and trademarks.

In an article on the Minneapolis StarTribune website, K2 Concepts owner Jim Urbano said he ordered one shipment of the spray-gun cups and liners from Phoenix Automotive Refinishing but removed them from his website months ago because they didn’t sell well.

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If the lawsuit makes it to trial, Urbano told the StarTribune that he will admit, “We messed up.”

“I thought that if [3M was] upset with us, we would just get a cease-and-desist order and they’d ask us to stop selling the liners on our website,” Urbano told the StarTribune. “But we never got a letter. And we already stopped selling the product about eight months ago.”

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