WITH MACH-3 INTO OFFSIDE
Gillette, the US-blade manufacturer is not only known for its thought-out patent strategies but also for its aggressive enforcement of rights towards competitors. This is exactly what Wilkinson and its parent company Edgewell have just experienced while thinking they could stir up Gillette’s “Mach-3” market with cheap replacement blades.
However, many consumers would have liked to have some more market competition as Gillette’s marketing strategy is to increase demand on their shavers with cheap promotional offers in order to make the actual business by distributing expensive replacement blades. In addition, it must be pointed out that the “Mach-3” technology is protected by two dozen patents from the blade’s setting angle to the smart packaging characterized in the distinguishingly masculine sound while opening – whatever this might be.
Wilkinson’s arguments saying that the relevant patent would have already infringed the former novelty status could, however, not convince the District Court Düsseldorf. At accelerated proceeding, the defendant was forbidden to further distribute the disputed product and existing stocks had to be delivered to the bailiff until a final decision is made. However, no matter what the final decision is going to be like: the relevant patent will expire in 2018 and then, at the latest, Gillette will be forced to have a new idea.