retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe reports that Procter & Gamble has filed a lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club, alleging that the disruptive startup has stolen intellectual property from P&G's Gillette brand, violating its technology trademarks.

Dollar Shave Club has not yet commented on the suit.

The Globe notes that "Dollar Shave Club sends its two million members periodic shipments of razors and shaving cream. The company pioneered the rapidly growing market of an online subscription service for razors and its accoutrements in recent years.

"Gillette controls about 60 percent of the shaving retail market, but just a fifth of the shaving online market. Gillette ramped up promotions for its online subscription service called the Gillette Shave Club earlier this year."
KC's View:
Not saying that this lawsuit isn't legitimate, and I do think that patent infringement is a serious issue. But ... in these cases, my first impulse is to be sympathetic to the disruptor. I'm sure that when Dollar Savings Club started, the folks at Gillette figured it wouldn't be a threat. Then they figured it wouldn't be much of a threat. Then they figured they could dominate the online market just because they are Gillette. Then they called the lawyers.

Sort of like Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's five stages of death, except that there are just four of them ... and unlike death, maintaining market share isn't inevitable.