Gillette files infringement lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Gillette files infringement lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club
Procter & Gamble is well known for fiercely guarding what it sees as its intellectual property and this time it’s after Dollar Shave Club for allegedly infringing on its razor designs.

The lawsuit states that Dollar Shave Club is breaking the law through unauthorized use of patented technology and that the action has been taken to protect Gillette’s research and development investments in the field of razor technology.

The lawsuit specifies that the company is seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Dollar Shave Club from the future sale of any products that infringe Gillette’s patented technologies.

Seeking to protect Gillette technology

“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,” ​said Deborah P. Majoras, chief legal officer of P&G.

Dollar Shave Club has been on fire since it launched just three years ago. In that time it has built up a business estimated to be worth nearly $650 million today and has projected sales of $140 million for 2015.

The company’s performance and scope was also given a significant boost in March of this year when it entered the men’s hair care market with a simple line of styling products.

So far neither Dollar Shave Club executives, spokesperson or law representatives have made any public statement in response to the litigation action by P&G.

Dollar Shave carves out online market

But the success has been driven by cheap, effective blades delivered conveniently to the door for those individuals willing to make a subscription to the Dollar Shave Club online.

However, that success has been eating into Gillette sales. The brand carves out approximately 60% of the US shaving market, estimated to be worth $3 billion.

Where Gillette has been losing out though is the fast growing market for online shaving supplies, which Dollar Shave Club has managed to dominate, mainly by significantly undercutting Gillette on price.

Gillette sues former employees

Back in January of this year P&G filed another lawsuit in the Gillette name alleging that four former employees wrongfully used and disclosed confidential information about Gillette’s trade secrets to another competitor, ShaveLogic.

The action lifted a lid on the closely guarded and highly competitive shaving category, particularly in light of the fact that the biggest players spend billions developing new innovations aimed at keeping them ahead of the competition.The lawsuit was filed in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, Massachusetts and stated that four former Gillette employees were subsequently hired by Dallas-based  ShaveLogic, where they shared the Gillette trade secrets.

The official court documents stated that Craig Provost, John Griffin, William Tucker and Douglas Kohring all breached their contracts with Gillette by sharing the confidential information with ShaveLogic employees.

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