Many people all across the country recognize the company 3M for their many engineering marvels and incredible, inventive products. But for any company in 3M's position, in order to retain this reputation in the marketplace, defending their products, processes and patents is essential. You don't become a successful company without entering into litigation at some point to defend yourself and your ideas.
That is precisely where 3M finds itself right now. A company in Texas, called XPEL Technologies, allegedly infringed upon one of 3M's patents. The patent in question protects one of 3M's products for paint protection. XPEL allegedly created a similar product that enters the protected ideas covered by 3M's patent. To be more specific, the patent covers a product that protects the finish of a vehicle from scratches and chips.
XPEL's product is very similar to this description. It is a filament that protects vehicles from damages caused by rock, gravel and other materials that are kicked up and can damage the exterior of a vehicle over the course of general use. 3M requested that a federal court rule that XPEL had to stop selling their product immediately, as it infringed upon their protected idea.
Where the case goes from here has yet to be seen, but XPEL said they were aware of the lawsuit. The lesson for companies here is back in our first paragraph: litigation will be necessary if you have a good idea and you intend to protect that idea with a patent. You need to know how to protect your ideas in order to be successful.
Source: Star Tribune, "3M sues for alleged patent infringement of paint protection films," Nicole Norfleet, Dec. 30, 2015