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Avery Dennison Sues 3M On Claims Of Anticompetitive Behavior

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Avery Dennison Corp. (AVY) sued 3M Co. (MMM), claiming that 3M unlawfully monopolized markets for a type of sheeting that makes road signs more reflective at night, along with complaints of fraud and false advertising. A representative for 3M couldn't give an immediate comment on the claims. The suit is a response to patent claims against Avery Dennison, which is seeking both monetary damages and an injunction against 3M in its own suit. According to the complaint, 3M sought to prevent Avery Dennison from offering its new OmniCube product, which uses retroreflective sheeting that meets a newer, higher standard set by a standards organization known as ASTM International. The company claims 3M persuaded ASTM to declare a new standard--known as Type 1--for the type of sheeting at a time when 3M had the only Type 1 product available. Avery Dennison claims 3M promised the standards organization it would withdraw patent claims if the new standard was put in place. The suit claims that when Avery Dennison introduced its own Type 1 product, OmniCube, 3M sued it for patent infringement despite those representations to the ASTM and sought a preliminary injunction to block sales. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the central district of California. Shares of both companies were inactive after hours. Avery stock fell 0.1% to $38.98 in the regular session Thursday, and 3M gained 1.2% to $90.55. -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291;

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