Gillette battles to get the razor's edge

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gillette Appeal

As leading men's personal care player Gillette introduces a
five-blade razor, the company is also going ahead with a patent
infringement suit against Schick over its four-blade razor,

At the end of December a US district judge refused to dismiss Gillette's patent infringement against Schick for its continued marketing of the four-blade razor. Gillette claims the blade infringes its patent for multibladed razors.

The patent covers Gillette's best-selling three-blade razor, Mach 3, which has spurned a number of imitators over the years.

In the ensuing court cases Scheck has argued that Gillette's patent only covers its three-blade razor, an argument that the US district judge rejected, a Bloomberg News report said.

Originally the district judge had ruled that the patent was limited to three-blades, however Gillette appealed the ruling and it was overturned. This now means that the case will go to a full trial in the next few months.

The outcome of the court trial will determine whether or not Schick can continue to sell the Quattro razors on the US market.

The Quattro razor was introduced in the 2003 and has gone on to become a major competitor to Gillette, particularly in the important US market. But, as the court action testifies, gillette is not about to take that competition lying down.

Gillette is also fighting back from another corner, with the launch of a five-blade razor named Fusion and Fusion Power. Launched in September 2005 in the US market, and set to be launched on the European market about now, the blade could prove another major blow to the competition.

The five-blades on the Fusion are said to be 30 per cent closer than the Mach 3 razors, which, combined with the extra two blades, is said to create a superior shave. This five-blade shave is further enhanced by the Fusion Power model, which contains microchip battery-operated technology that vibrates the razor, futher enhancing the shave quality.

Needless to say, both the technologies have been comprehensively patented.

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