The gloves have come off and the nails, or in this case the razors have come out. Gillette has filed a lawsuit for infringements of its patent protection against Dollar Shave Club Inc. claiming that the company has taken a chunk out of its profit shares of the $3 billion U.S market sales for their razors and blades. Procter & Gamble Co. filing the suit has asked the U.S District Court to award an injunction against any further unauthorized use of Gillette’s products.
The said infringed product by Dollar Shave Inc. is a double-coated blade with a sharp edge specifically designed to last longer than regular blades. Whereas, Gillette uses very similar blades in Mach 3, Venus and Fusion products and a few others.
A spokesperson from P&G stated in an interview that Gillette keeps a lookout for any competitors in order to identify if anyone is using similar products. And accordingly they have “reason to believe” that the accused company was using similar blades. “We take every violation of our intellectual property seriously, and when necessary, we take legal action to defend our business as we have in the past and will continue to do in the future,” Mr. Jones stated, another P&G spokesperson. Representative from Dollar Shave Club declined to comment on any of the events.
Dollar Shave Club offered a range of razors between $1 to $9 targeting a larger consumer group to dominate, with the promise of better affordability of a clean shave. The company now has over 10 million loyal customers, generating $140 million just from sales. Dollar Shave Club has widened its pool of consumers and thus has led to its rise in market value at $630 million while P&G remains at a value of $220 billion.
Both Gillette and Dollar Shave take different approaches when it comes to encouraging shaving habits. Gillette guarantees their razor blades worth only $5 can last a month. They swear by the durability of their razor blades and promises cost efficient use. While Dollar Shave encourages customers to change their blades weekly.
In the suit filed by Gillette, it claims that Dollar Shave Club’s razors use the very same chemical element of chromium to the surface of the blades called “polytetrafluoroethylene”
However Dollar Shave Club claims to buy theirs blades from Dorco, a U.S. arm of a South Korean razor manufacture. They also provide private-label razors for smaller retailers such as Walgreens and Dollar General Corp. Gillette's suit fails to mention the supplier, Dorco’s representatives also withheld from mentioning on this accord.