One of the biggest complaints people have about shaving is that it costs a lot of money to maintain smooth skin. Consumers can expect to pay double-digits for just a handful of shaving blades – a fact many consumers are none too happy about.
Online businesses like Dollar Shave Club Inc. say they have the answer though, offering consumers quality razors at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, a recent patent lawsuit has the 3-year-old company on the defensive because of allegations that it has infringed on a shaving blade patent issued to Gillette. Dollar Shave could pay big for 'cutting' in on Gillette's patent. But are the rumors true?
As a recent Wall Street Journal article explains, Gillette's allegations are based on testing the company did on its competitor's razors. According to Gillette, it suspects that some of the razors sold by Dollar Shave use a special coating that protects the blades from wear. Gillette believes this practice infringes on its 2004 patent covering a similar practice.
As if allegations didn't make the lawsuit challenging enough, Dollar Shave doesn't actually make its own razors. Instead, the company buys its blades from Dorco, which is the American arm of a South Korean shaving razor manufacturer.
Though Dorco was not named in the lawsuit, its involvement in Dollar Shave's success begs the question: is Dollar Shave truly liable for patent infringement if it is not responsible for making the product? This is the challenging question a judge will have to decide on if the case goes to court at any point.