3M Settles Lawsuit with Sony, Lenovo and Others

3M charged several IT vendors with infringing on patents behind lithium-ion battery designs.

3M has settled a lawsuit that it brought against several IT vendors, including Sony, Lenovo Group, Hitachi and others for infringing on patent designs for lithium-ion batteries, the company announced in a statement.

In a statement posted on its Web site July 30, 3M, which is based in Maplewood, Minn., announced that it has reached a settlement in the dispute, which was originally filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota in March.

In the lawsuit, 3M complained that several vendors, which also included Panasonic, CDW, Batteries Com, Total Micro Technologies and Matsushita Electronic Industrial, violated several patents for lithium-ion battery designs that were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2005 and 2006.

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Specifically, the patents referred to 3Ms design of "Cathode Compositions for Lithium-Ion Batteries." In designing lithium-ion batteries, the cathode is a reference to the positive electrode within the battery. In the lawsuit, 3M accused these vendors of designing batteries based on one or both of these patents and sold these batteries with laptops and other electronic devices.

In the statement it released July 30, 3M announced that Sony is now a licensed source for batteries using 3Ms cathode technology. The full terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

"3M believes its cathode materials containing nickel, manganese and cobalt are an important technology for current and next-generation lithium-ion batteries," the company wrote in its statement. "3M stands ready to supply cathode materials to the industry."

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