US conglomerate 3M Company, maker of the ubiquitous Post-it note, has been sued by an American inventor who says he first conceived the sticky message products.
Alan Amron, 67, filed suit in a federal court in Florida seeking at least 400 million in damages and interest from 3M, according to court documents seen Friday.
In his suit, Amron, who claims to have 39 US patents, said he had invented the product in 1973 and called it "Press-on-Memo", but without filing a patent.
However 3M has stuck to its position that Post-it, one of its most famous brands, was invented by its scientists Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver.
The St. Paul, Minnesota-based company began marketing the product in 1977 and sales of the little notes took off in 1980.
Amron sued 3M in 1997 claiming he was the Post-it inventor. The two parties settled the lawsuit but the terms of their deal were not published.
In his new suit, Amron said that the settlement stipulated that neither side would claim the invention. ButM has violated that agreement, he alleges.
He asked for a trial but the judge favored mediation and gave the two parties until the end of the year to settle their differences.
3M denied Amron's claims and it would seek to have the suit thrown out.
"3M developed Post-it notes without any input or inspiration from Mr. Amron," Donna Fleming Runyon, a 3M spokeswoman, told AFP.
"There was nothing in the settlement agreement that limited what 3M could say," she said.
The spokeswoman said the company would file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit next week.
She pointed out that the "only" inventors of the Post-it notes, Fry and Silver, were inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.
3M is one of the 30 blue-chip members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and had 30.3 billion in sales worldwide in 2015.
In addition to its consumer unit, which includes Scotch tape and Ace bandages, the company has a range of businesses from industrial and health care to electronics and energy.
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