Snap-on, Harbor Freight settle floor jack case

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Terms Not Disclosed

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Snap-on Inc. and Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc. have agreed to dismiss a lawsuit over the floor jacks sold by Harbor Freight. The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed publicly.

Kenosha-based Snap-on sued Harbor Freight last year, accusing the California-based company of selling floor jacks that “are substantially identical in shape and appearance” to ones sold by Snap-on. The lawsuit alleged the sale of the jacks amounted to patent and trade dress infringement and unfair competition.

Snap-on sells its 2-ton and 3-ton floor jacks for $550 to $650 while Harbor Freight offers its similar models for $199 or less.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman ruled in January that there were similarities between the designs “the overall effect of each design on the eye of the ordinary observe is different.” Adelman at that point denied a Snap-on motion seeking a preliminary injunction against Harbor Freight.

In answering Snap-on’s complaint, Harbor Freight made a counterclaim of its own, accusing Snap-on of false and misleading advertising and seeking to stifle competition.

Harbor Freight argued Snap-on “tried to exploit patriotic leanings of some customers.”

“Believing that many consumers prefer jacks made in the United States—and will not pay $550 to $650-plus for jacks made in China—Snap-on has deceptively and repeatedly told consumers that the FJ200 and FJ300 are ‘assembled in the USA,’” the Harbor Freight counter claim says.

Snap-on denied the Harbor Freight allegations, but did acknowledge some parts for the jacks are made in China.

Harbor Freight also alleged Snap-on’s jacks were made in the same factory as the Harbor Freight ones and the company’s business model is what caused a higher price. Snap-on denied those allegations in its response.

The two companies were scheduled to complete discovery in the case by mid-October.

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