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P&G settles patent infringement lawsuit with Edgewell Personal Care

By Deanna Utroske

14-Dec-2016
Last updated on 14-Dec-2016 at 17:17 GMT2016-12-14T17:17:21Z

P&G settles patent infringement lawsuit with Edgewell Personal Care

The suit, filed in August, was about P&G’s Mach3 and Edgewell’s newly launched, similar Schick PL. This week’s settlement deal comes closely on the heels of an announcement that P&G is set to relaunch its men’s grooming line.

Late last month, Cosmetics Design reported on P&G’s plans to launch new shave products, packaging, and more for the Americas region. For instance, the company will begin selling a three-blade disposable razor in the Latin American market, encouraging consumers there to “trade up to [the] more expensive ones.” 

Here in the States, the company’s packaging for its Gillette products will change. Discussing the relaunch with Barrett J. Brunsman of the Cincinnati Business Courier, Charles Pierce, group president of P&G’s global grooming business, remarked “We have faced competitive entries in direct-to-consumer space as well as the traditional retail space.” Pierce added that, “we are addressing both.” 

“To improve our growth and the growth of the market, we are driving innovation, new user trial, go-to-market excellence and improved consumer value across our portfolio,” he told Brunsman.

Legal battle

In August P&G filed suit against Edgewell Personal Care, a company formed just last year as part of Energizer Holdings corporate split. In the shaving category, Edgewell makes Schick, Wilkinson Sword, and Personna brand razors as well as Edge and Skintimate shave gels.

P&G’s patent on the Mach3 razor expired on April 10. In early July, Edgewell’s Schick PL hit retail shelves. At the crux of the lawsuit is the presumption that Edgewell must have infringed on P&G’s patent to develop and bring the Schick PL to market so swiftly.

“It can take years to bring a product to market,” a spokesperson for P&G told the Wall Street Journal when the suit was filed. “It is clear from the launch date of Edgewell’s private-label product that it was being designed and produced while the patents were still active, making it a patent violation.”

Extending from that, the suit also cited false advertising, unfair competition, and deceptive acts.

Settled

Now the case has been settled. A confidentiality agreement is part of the deal, so the terms of P&G’s agreement with Edgewell are not being made public.

But, as Brunsman reports, both companies will be paying their own attorney fees and associated expenses. This is, to an extent, a concession on the part of P&G; that company sought attorney fees, compensatory damages, punitive damages, Edgewell’s profits from the endeavor, corrective advertising from Edgewell, a recall of products with advertising claiming the Schick PL “shaves as good or better than the Mach3,” and more. 

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