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Schick-Wilkinson Sword is walking the razor’s edge of patent law � at least according to rival manufacturer The Gillette Company. On August 12 Gillette filed suit against Energizer Holdings, Inc. (Schick’s parent company) in federal district court in Boston, seeking to block the future distribution and sale of Schick’s new men’s razor, the Quattro. Gillette is claiming patent infringement. The patent in question covers “progressive blade geometry,” a means of positioning razor blades so that each blade is slightly closer to the skin, allowing for closer shaves. Gillette used progressive blade geometry in its Mach3 and Mach3 Turbo razors, leading sellers in the men’s market, and in a women’s razor, the Venus. This technology is widely credited with bolstering Gillette’s share of the $1 billion � plus American razor market. Gillette holds approximately 70 percent of that market; Schick, 13 percent. Sales of Mach3 and Mach3 Turbo blades total about $318 million annually. On September 19 Schick (recently purchased by Energizer Holdings from Pfizer Inc. for $903 million) debuted the Quattro, a men’s razor that has four blades as opposed to the Gillette razors’ three. However, Gillette maintains the number of blades is insignificant, because the progressive blade geometry infringes upon its patent. Energizer attorneys argue that the Quattro’s system is substantially different from Gillette’s device. Gillette seeks an injunction to stop the promotion and sale of the Quattro, as well as unspecified damages, attorneys’ fees, and other costs. Hearings are scheduled for November 5-7, when Judge Patti Saris will decide which company has suffered the unkindest cut of all. For plaintiff The Gillette Company (Boston) In-house: Vice president of intellectual property Donald Tobin. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (New York): Lewis Clayton, Daniel Leffell, John Nathan, counsel Steven Herzog, and associates Erez Liebermann and Mark Meredith. Nathan, formerly a senior partner at New York’s Fish & Neave, has represented Gillette since 1970. Ropes & Gray (Boston): William Patton and associates Dalila Argaez Wendlandt and Jane Willis. For defendant Energizer Holdings, Inc. (St. Louis) In-house: Senior patent counsel-Schick Manufacturing, Inc., Linda Gebauer, and chief patent counsel-Eveready Battery Company, Inc., Robert Welsh. Price, Heneveld, Cooper, Dewitt & Litton (Grand Rapids): Randall Litton and associate Matthew Gipson. Nixon Peabody (Rochester, New York): Jason Kravitz and Richard Rochford. (Kravitz is in the firm’s Boston office.)

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