The great investing website, Seeking Alpha, ran this article about a lawsuit Procter and Gamble has filed against a competitor in the razor category for patent infringement, deceptive practices, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You can read the article here if you like.
What struck me as interesting was how they phrased their rationale for the lawsuit.
P&G’s chief legal officer, Deborah Mojoras, had this to say:
We invest heavily in innovation – and our scientists work tirelessly to provide men with one of the best, most reliable shaving experiences in the world. When a competitor makes false and misleading claims against one of our products and infringes our patents, it’s unfair to consumers, and to our employees and shareholders, and we will challenge those violations.”
I think some of this wording may be P&G’s attempt to avoid looking like Goliath picking on David. We all like to root for the underdog, after all, and competition is the thing that makes our beloved free market system work. But all that emotion aside, their point is logical and accurate. And justified. Companies of all size invest lots of resources working to give their customers (that’s you and me!) value, and they are rewarded with something of value in return. If companies can’t profitably serve customers, customers can’t be served for very long. The “win-win” of “value-for-value” turns to “lose-lose” pretty quickly. As Dr. Steven Covey liked to say, “No margin, no mission.”
So in a way, P&G is just looking out for the customer. And no, I’m not being sarcastic!