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Razor Makers Slash At Each Other

The makers of Schick-Wilkinson Sword shaving products have sued rival Gillette Co., accusing the razor industry leader of falsely claiming a technological edge in the latest clash in what has been described as the "Battle of the Blades."

The three-count lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Hartford, Conn., takes issue with Boston-based Gillette billing its latest offerings as "The Best a Man Can Get" and other slogans Schick calls intentionally misleading.

"Gillette's actions are offensive to the public," according to the lawsuit.

The case was filed by St. Louis-based Eveready Battery Co. Inc. and two of its subsidiaries, Energizer Battery Inc. and Schick Manufacturing Inc. Schick is based in Milford, Conn.

The lawsuit, singling out Gillette's marketing of its three-bladed Mach3 Turbo and its three-bladed Sensor 3 disposable razor, asks a judge to order Gillette to halt the questioned advertising, detail any related profits and to pay Schick unspecified damages.

"Gillette's false advertisements are causing substantial injury to Schick," the lawsuit alleges.

Gillette spokesman Eric Kraus said Thursday that "we stand behind our claims, and we look forward to upholding them in court." He declined to discuss the matter further.

But the intensity of the competition was evident in August when Gillette sued Schick for patent infringement hours after Schick announced the Quattro.

In that case filed in federal court in Boston, Gillette said the new Quattro infringes on patented technology it developed to allow the three blades on its Mach3 system to extend progressively closer to the beard.

Gillette has claimed it spent $1 billion developing its Mach3 Turbo.

In trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Gillette fell 15 cents to $32.62 while Energizer Holdings was up 36 cents at $37.68.

By Jim Suhr