Inventor Alan Amron sued 3M Co. for fraud this week for a second time, claiming he should be compensated because Post-it notes were fashioned after his “Press-on Memos.”
His first lawsuit, in December 1997, was settled a month later. Amron said in a statement that 3M has violated terms of that agreement.
“It was understood that 3M agreed not to continue saying they invented the sticky note, and to pay the inventor for his legal costs in the case,” the statement said.
A 3M spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the new lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Southern Florida, but denied his claims.
“3M developed Post-it notes without any input or inspiration from Mr. Amron, and it is false and misleading for him to state or suggest that he created, invented or had any role in the product’s development,” said spokeswoman Donna Fleming Runyon.
Further, she said 3M did not admit to any of Amron’s claims in the first lawsuit settlement. “We paid a nuisance amount under a settlement to avoid expensive litigation and put the claims of Mr. Amron to rest.”
3M said in a statement that Post-it notes had “roots dating back to 1970 when 3M filed a patent for the unique adhesive that has made Post-it notes so successful, which is long before Mr. Amron claims to have invented sticky notes.”
Amron contends that 3M stationery executives requested and took samples of his Press-on Memos during a New York trade show in 1974, then came out in 1977 with sticky notes called Press n’ peel and reintroduced the product as Post-it notes in 1980.
Amron said he first heard 3M claim to have invented the product itself in 1997, the year he sued. He is suing again, his statement said, because 3M has been publicly making claims again that it invented sticky notes.
He has tried, he said, to counter 3M’s statements that its employee, Arthur Fry, invented the notes by accident while trying to keep his choir music straight.
Amron is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of at least $400 million.
3M officials said they will file a response with the court after their attorneys review the lawsuit, which also names Fry as a defendant.