Saturday, April 30, 2005

Legal Eagles

It's fairly clear that Schick and Gillette, the world's two largest shaving companies, like to sue each other a lot (1, 2, 3, 4). Schick has been trying to get Gillette to alter it's marketing of the M3Power.

On Gillette's side, they've been trying to prevent sales of the Quattro, claiming that the Quattro violates Gillette's patents from the Mach 3. To wit:
Gillette has argued that any razor head with a group of three blades would be covered by its patent. Its Mach3 razor and M3Power, a pulsating razor based on Mach3, as well as the women's Venus razor, each have three blades.

Energizer's Quattro and the recently launched Quattro for Women each have four blades. St. Louis-based Energizer's Schick-Wilkinson Sword is the No. 2 razor company behind Boston-based Gillette. The rivals have been waging legal battles since Schick released new products -- including Quattro -- to try to cut into Gillette's dominance of the global shaving market.

Judge Patti Saris of the District Court of Massachusetts in January 2004 rejected a bid to halt Quattro sales on the grounds the device infringes on the patent for Gillette's three-bladed Mach3 razor.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has bounced the case back down to a lower court, so the battle continues. If Gillette wins, sales of the Schick Quattro will be blocked in the US.

All I can say is, I have no sympathy for either company. It's over $3 (Cdn) per blade for the Mach 3 and Quattro, and they both sell very well. They're good razors, but the prices are ridiculous.


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