The lawsuit was 2006. To qualify it has to be US sourced, that means a lot of things. For a subcomponent that can mean it doesnt have to be from the US, it itself can be largely foreign made as it isn't a weight thing. So for example you buy your steel from china, have it stamped out in china, then heat treated and ground in Kentucky say. guess where the component is now from.
From the article “The lawsuit ended favorably for Leatherman, as federal courts ruled that since 83% of their components (the base requirement is 70%) are American sourced, they qualify as “made in the USA.” The article is dated July 2020
They're ASSEMBLED in America, as far as I'm aware from discussions in various places most of the things that as noted in the article were overseas parts(in 2006) are now made increasingly in China instead including the knife blades. Gerber is the same, even the made in USA ones have all the metalwork coming from China. Not that I mind, I've got a Chinese Gerber knife, it's a near 100% of the old SOG knife and the only downside is that it's Bear Grylls branded, but its a nice utility knife that I don't care about as much because it was way cheaper than buying a vintage SOG made in the USA.
Leatherman's are not made in China https://allamericanreviews.com/leatherman-tools/
440C isn't the worlds best knife steel to be fair, it got popular, but has gone out of fashion for non disposable knives as heat treated very well it's actually too hard. It's a good choice for Chinese manufacturers because it is a really common steel grade in china and good for pretty much any tool. 420HC has some benefits over 440C as it isn't always about hardness, hardness in and of itself isn't necessarily the best thing in knife steel. Chinese companies use 440C now as with a cheap mediocre heat treat you can get 440C to a good standard. Compared to 420HC which you need to be REALLY good with your heat treat to get it good, but actually comes out better as 440C is actually too hard as with a top notch heat treat it is bloody hard to sharpen. 420HC actually has better corrosion resistance as well, which is why it is good for tools in the main over 440 beyond just sharpening as while 440C doesn't stain as much it doesn't tolerate salt water so well which is something you want in a multitool. That being said I wasn't really talking about the same knives you are talking about, you could always get a decent knife for that kind of price, they're just more expensive these days because fewer people make them. But most of them are made in China anyway these days even leathermans, of the big brands only Mora and Victorinox still do some European manufacturing. What I was mostly talking about though was cheap cheap, like the 5 and 10 quid tools you can get, just the manufacturing costs mean the material in those is always going to be crap as the better the metal the more it costs to manufacture.