Diversified technology conglomerate 3M Company (MMM) recently settled its lawsuit with Avery Dennison Corporation (AVY), a leading global manufacturer of labeling and packaging materials, pertaining to the patent infringement on retroreflective sheeting products widely used on traffic signs, pavement markings, and other traffic control products.
3M was the industry pioneer for retroreflective sheeting products when it introduced them in the market about 60 years back. Since then, 3M has continuously offered technologically advanced products to meet the evolving requirements of the traffic safety and security division. Consequently, 3M’s Display and Graphics segment has established itself as a premier manufacturer of prismatic reflective sheeting for traffic signs, bright and durable pavement markings, reflective materials for work zone applications, and roadway asset management systems and services.
The legal tussle started when Avery Dennison alleged patent infringements and antitrust violations against 3M and filed copyright litigation. However, the jury upheld the validity and enforceability of 3M’s patents and dismissed all allegations against it. 3M was also allowed to use its patented reflective sheeting technology in its products.
Formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M was founded in 1902 and is currently based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The company has manufacturing operations across 70 countries. It has more than 35 business units organized into six segments: Consumer and Office; Display and Graphics; Electro and Communications; Healthcare; Industrial and Transportation; and Safety, Security and Protection Services.
Consistent with its long-term strategy of accelerating investments in high-growth programs, 3M strives to deliver sustainable increases in sales, earnings and free cash flow. The company’s ability to convert high R&D spends into up-cycle market share gains, pricing power, and margin determines its success over the years.
Over the years, 3M has continuously upgraded its product portfolio to fight against stiff competition from other leading players in the industry such as Crane Co. (CR) and Macquarie Infrastructure Company LLC (MIC), each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). 3M presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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