Gillette sues Dollar Shave Club over patent infringement

In a lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club, Gillette Company has claimed the razors of its rival illegally used the Boston company's patented razor blade technology.

According to the seven-page lawsuit, Dollar Shave Club's blades infringed on a Gilette patent, issued in 2004, that involved two coatings used to strengthen the edge of a blade and protect it from wear. Gillette used the coatings on its Mach 3, Venus and Fusion products, among others.

According to P&G spokesman Damon Jones, the company routinely tested competitor's products and had "reason to believe" that Dollar Shave Club was making changes to its products. According to Jones, the company evaluated the blades, and discovered the alleged infringement.

According to commentors, Gillette had been slow to respond to the rise of online rivals. Though Gillette, controls over 60 per cent of the US retail market, it had only 20 per cent of the online shaving market. Gillette launched its subscription service last year called Gillette Shave Club.

P&G would not disclose the number of subscribers its shave club had, but since its June relaunch, Gillette's e-commerce share of blades and razors had risen four percentage points, the company said last month.

''We have long invested heavily in innovation, and our talented scientists have dedicated their careers to delivering the best shaving experience possible for men and women around the world,'' Deborah Majoras, P&G's chief legal officer, said in a statement.

''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.''

According to a Dollar Shave Club spokeswoman, the company was looking into the lawsuit, but otherwise declined comment.

In 2004, Gillette patented special coatings that it applied to razor blades to improve the shaving experience and for durability.

Gillete's complaint pertains to Dollar Shave Club's Humble Twin, 4X and Executive razors.