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It turns out that razor design is rocket science after all. Or at least that’s how it seems from the dozens of patents The Gillette Company has filed on its Mach3 line of triple-blade razors. The newest model, the Mach3 Turbo, is protected by 35 different patents. Everything from the spacing of the blades to the cartridge-ejection mechanism to the contour of the handle is covered. It’s hard to tell who’s been working harder: Gillette’s engineers, or its outside patent prosecutors at Fish & Richardson. Even with all that protection, Syndia Corporation, a Chicago-based licensing company, was able to pierce Gillette’s armor. In June 2002 a jury in Chicago federal court ruled that Gillette’s Mach3, Mach3 Turbo, and Venus razors infringed two of Syndia’s patents for razor blade coating and awarded Syndia $10 million. The case settled in March. The lesson: Don’t leave any blade uncovered.

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