PHILADELPHIA – A Federal jury in Philadelphia has ordered Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. (3M) to pay $68.4 million in damages to LePage’s Inc., a Pittsburgh-based private-label tape manufacturer, for violating U.S. antitrust laws in restraint of trade practices stemming from 3M’s monopolist control of the U.S. tape market.

The 11-member jury deliberated for five days before finding 3M guilty of monopolization of the $275-million tape market. 3M was accused of predatory pricing with retailers in maintaining its more than 90% share of the market.

3M did not dispute many of LePage’s allegations of fact, but contended that its pricing practices with retailers were legal. As late as 1992, the 123-year-old LePage’s held 12% of the U.S. market for transparent tape, but saw that share drop below 6% over the next several years, allegedly in the wake of 3M’s actions.