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A German court has ruled that Energizer Holdings Inc.’s four-bladed Quattro razor does not infringe on rival Gillette Co.’s European patent on a three-bladed design, Energizer said Thursday. In the latest development in a feud between the world’s two largest makers of wet shave products, the court also ordered Gillette — the market leader — to reimburse unspecified court costs for Energizer, which owns the Schick-Wilkinson Sword shaving business. The overseas ruling came 11 months after a federal judge in Massachusetts issued a similar finding, denying Boston-based Gillette’s request for a preliminary injunction in the United States. “We are very pleased with the court’s ruling that Quattro does not infringe Gillette’s patent,” said Schick-Wilkinson Sword’s president Joe Lynch, accusing Gillette of having been “very aggressive at attempting to impede the launch and sale of Quattro around the globe.” Gillette spokesman Eric Kraus said the company disagrees with the German ruling and would appeal, saying “we have been consistent in our rigorous defense of our intellectual property and we do not intend to abandon the claim based on this ruling. Energizer bought Schick from Pfizer last year. In the United States, Gillette sued St. Louis-based Energizer in August 2003, hoping to halt Quattro sales and accusing Schick of infringing its patent for the three-bladed Mach3. In January, the Massachusetts federal judge refused to halt Quattro sales and found no reasonable likelihood Gillette’s patent case would succeed on one of its key claims. Another federal lawsuit, filed by Gillette last December, alleges that Schick’s Intuition women’s razor infringes on two Gillette patents — one pertaining to the tray the razor sits in and a second pertaining to blade packaging. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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