The lawsuit in federal court in California alleges that Mao Yu and affiliated companies falsely advertised as third-party sellers on Amazon under the 3M brand.
The complaint says that the defendants "charged unsuspecting customers more than $350,000 when the customers responded to false listings that claimed to be reselling authentic N95 respirators, while actually selling damaged and fake goods at highly-inflated prices," a statement from 3M said.
The defendants charged customers as much as 20 times the St. Paul, Minn., company's list prices for N95 masks, the company said.
“[This] scam is aimed at exploiting the demand for our critical products during the pandemic using 3M’s name connected with price gouging and counterfeiting,” Denise Rutherford, 3M's senior vice president for corporate affairs, said in the statement.
“Our collaboration with Amazon is one of the important ways we are working to prevent and combat fraud, and we will report this unlawful activity to law enforcement as well.”
The complaint demands money damages and an order requiring the defendants to stop selling the products. 3M said it would donate any damages it receives from the suit to covid-19-related nonprofits.
In April, 3M filed a lawsuit claiming that New Jersey-based Performance Supply LLC offered to sell New York City officials $45 million in N95 masks at prices that were six to seven times more than 3M's list price.
The suit also alleged that Performance Supply falsely claimed a business affiliation with 3M while negotiating with the city.
Including the current legal action, 3M has filed more than a dozen lawsuits alleging fraud, price gouging and counterfeiting, the company said.
3M shares eased 0.3% to $166.87 in regular Monday trading.