Technology

Dollar Shave Club files counterclaim against Gillette in battle of the blades

Dollar Shave Club isn’t afraid of publicity. The quirky men’s grooming start-up is famous for its viral online videos, men’s flushable wipes and now a Super Bowl ad.

But when shaving giant Gillette filed a lawsuit in December claiming the Venice subscription service stole one of its patents to reduce wear and tear on its razor blades, Dollar Shave Club went silent.

That changed Tuesday when the company fired back at Gillette, issuing a statement and filing a counterclaim in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

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“Dollar Shave Club does not infringe on any valid and enforceable claim of the Gillette patent,” the company said. “We will vigorously defend ourselves and our three million members against these meritless claims.

“We prefer to have the Dollar Shave Club experience speak for itself in the marketplace,” the statement continued, “and we are not intimidated by Gillette's attempts to thwart competition with litigation.”

Procter & Gamble, which owns Gillette, called the counterclaim meritless.

"We will always step up to protect our innovation and the scientists behind it," the company said in a prepared statement.  "We invest heavily in innovation. In fact, that’s how Gillette started – through improving the shaving experience.  And that’s why we’re so serious about defending our technology."

Since launching in 2012, Dollar Shave Club has turned the razor blade industry on its head, offering cheaper prices online and building a lifestyle brand around its tongue-in-cheek culture. Gillette started its own online subscription service in 2014, calling it Gillette Shave Club.

Dollar Shave Club still commands half the online razor market, according to Slice Intelligence.

Gillette Shave Club ranks second at about 18% market share.

Follow me on Twitter: @dhpierson

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UPDATES

5:20 p.m.: This post was updated to include comment from Procter & Gamble.

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