Girdle Grapple

Munsingwear feels the pinch

Inventor Knut Bjorn-Larsen might not have hollered "Eureka!" when he developed a garterless girdle back in 1965. But Bjorn-Larsen, 58, of Carpinteria, Calif., would be readily excused if he hollered himself hoarse last week. The reason: in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, a federal judge ordered Munsingwear Inc. of Minneapolis to pay Bjorn-Larsen $31 million in damages for fraud and patent infringement.

A native of Norway, Bjorn-Larsen is a born tinkerer. While doing graduate work in bacteriology and biochemistry at Berkeley and U.S.C., he relished playing Louis Pasteur with his potions and Petri dishes. But, for financial...

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