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Market leader alleges theft against rising company

Miami businesses work hard to set themselves apart from the competition. Whether it is having a better product, better service or some other distinctive quality, businesses do what they can to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

From time to time, these efforts can clash with other businesses. When businesses are accused of stealing a company’s secrets, for instance, business litigation can result between the two companies.

This was recently the case when the leading company in the $3.3 billion razor industry, Gillette, filed a federal lawsuit against upcoming online subscription service Dollar Shave Club. Gillette has claimed it is the top razor in part because of the large investment it makes into its technology in creating a better product. The company controls 68 percent of the U.S. market, but it has lost some of that market share recently to the fast-growing Dollar Shave Club.

The lawsuit alleges that Dollar Shave Club infringed on one of Gillette’s patents that protects a razor topped with a chromium-containing overcoat layer. This technology is featured in products like the Mach3, Venus and Fusion blades. Gillette claims Dollar Shave Club stole this technology and used it in its razor blades. As a result, Gillette is demanding that Dollar Shave Club stop selling the blades.

It remains to be seen how the lawsuit will be resolved. However, the case is an important reminder of how substantial business disputes can evolve from allegations of stealing another company’s secrets or product. Companies can request different kinds of relief in these actions, including not only an award of very high monetary damages, but an injunction against the other company from carrying on business in the same manner as it has. Accordingly, businesses on both sides of these disputes should understand what is at stake and how to best protect their interests when a dispute arises.

Source: Washington Post, “Gillette’s lawsuit could tilt the battle for America’s beards,” Drew Harwell, Dec. 18, 2015

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