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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Judge cuts through razor ads row
Man shaving
The judge said shaving tests by the two firms were not extensive
A Dutch court has found Wilkinson and Gillette can both say their razors are the best, as members of the public will not believe them anyway.

Gillette wanted to halt Wilkinson's Dutch ads for its four-bladed Quattro shaver, which is in competition with Gillette's three-bladed Mach3 Turbo.

Wilkinson filed a countersuit against Gillette's ads which claims its razors to be "the best a man can get".

The judge allowed both ads, but said they would not necessarily be believed.

'Exaggeration permissible'

Gillette had said Wilkinson's ads falsely implied the Quattro was better than Gillette's three-bladed Mach3 Turbo.

"By a good legal tradition, some exaggeration is permissible, as long as it's not misleading in nature, because it will be sceptically received by the average consumer," Judge Schepen said in his ruling after the hearing in Utrecht.

He said the use of superlatives in commercials had become so common that the public would not take either firm's claims to be evidence of superiority.

Wilkinson's ads said "independent tests and consumer research have shown that no other shaving system shaves smoother and softer than Quattro".

The ruling said this claim was only somewhat backed by a test Wilkinson had done on 40 beards in the UK.

US court battle

Gillette had argued its studies showed different results, but the court said that Gillette's evidence was not strong either.

In one test on skin irritation, "just nine people participated, which in any case gives rise to doubt about the meaning of the results" the judge said.

The court ordered Gillette to pay 944 euros ($1,120; 632) in court-related fees for its suit, and Wilkinson to pay 351 euros ($417; 234) for its countersuit.

The U.S. companies are involved in rival patent lawsuits over the Quattro and Mach3 in the US, and Wilkinson has also filed suit there against Gillette's The Best a Man Can Get slogan as misleading.

Gillette sparks cutthroat razor war
13 Aug 03  |  Business

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