But history was made, 114 years ago this month, making an important turn of events in the facial hair category: King Camp Gillette applied for a patent for a safety razor with disposable blades.
Gillette filed for his patent in 1901, began production in 1903 and received his patent in 1904.
Today, eight manufacturers produce razors and disposable blades and cartridges, creating a $2 billion a year industry—one that has been making news of late more for the way in which men purchase their products than how they remove the hair from their cheeks and chins.
Companies like Dollar Shave and Harry’s have come on the scene with direct-to-consumer razor sales models that have challenged the status quo for the biggest players like Gillette.
But earlier this month The Procter & Gamble Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary The Gillette Company, filed a lawsuit in the District of Delaware against Dollar Shave Club, a marketer and retailer of shaving products. The lawsuit alleges that Dollar Shave Club is violating Gillette’s intellectual property by selling its infringing razors. The lawsuit cites unauthorized use of patented technology, which is prohibited by law, and is intended to protect Gillette’s significant investment in razor technology.
The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction to prevent the defendant from selling any products infringing Gillette’s patented technology.
“We have long invested heavily in innovation, and our talented scientists have dedicated their careers to delivering the best shaving experience possible for men and women around the world,” said Deborah P. Majoras, chief legal officer of P&G, when the company announced its filing. “Our patents help protect the many technical advancements we’ve made through the years – and when it becomes necessary, we take action to protect these important assets.”
Wonder what King would think of this news today?