In 2008, 3M (NYSE: MMM) acquired a small company called Aearo Technology for $1.2 billion. The company made two-sided earplugs that it sold to the U.S. military. One side allowed military personnel to hear people talking, and the other blocked out all noise completely. A courtroom battle with a competitor could lead to a big problem stemming from the small acquisition.Ironically, 3M started the dispute in 2012 with a patent-infringement case against a competitor, Moldex. 3M withdrew the case, but Moldex filed a separate lawsuit against 3M in 2014, alleging that the company used the patent-infringement case to put Moldex out of the earplug market. During the proceedings, Moldex presented evidence that 3M was aware of possible defects in its earplugs but continued to sell them to the military through 2015, which was about the same time the evidence was presented in court.Image source: Getty Images.Continue readingWeiter zum vollständigen Artikel bei "MotleyFool"