The suit filed in Delaware asks the U.S. District Court to stop Dollar Shave Club from selling razors that allegedly infringe one of Gillette’s hundreds of patents. The lawsuit alleges that Dollar Shave Club’s blade infringe on a Gillette patent that was issued in 2004. The patent involves two coatings used to strengthen the edge of a blade and to protect it from wear. This coating is used on Gillette’s Mach 3, Venus and fusion products. In addition P&G are also seeking damages from the Californian head-quartered start-up.
The chief legal officer at P&G; Deborah Majoras commented; “Our patents help protect the many technical advancements we’ve made through the years – and when it becomes necessary, we take action to protect these important assets.”
Damon Jones, P&G spokesman added that the company routinely tests competitor’s products and had “reason to believe” that Dollar Shave Club was making changes to its products. It evaluated the blades and discovered the alleged infringement.
A spokeswoman for Dollar Shave Club has declined to comment.
The lawsuit comes amid changing consumer habits and an increased appetite amongst consumers for online subscription based services.
Gillette has been slow to respond to the demand for subscription services. The company which controls more than 60% of the U.S retail market for shaving products has only 21% of the online shaving market and launched its own subscription service “Gillette Shave Club” only last year.
Dollar Shave Club in contrast launched in 2012 and offers subscription services for razors costing as little as $1 per month. According to Slice- an online shopping tracker, Dollar Club has 54% of the online shaving market; this is more than double when compared to Gillette’s 21% of the online shaving market.