CHICAGO – Philips Electronics (search), Europe's largest consumer electronics maker, sued Gillette Co. (G) on Wednesday, charging that Gillette's Oral-B power toothbrushes infringed patents for technology used in Philips' Sonicare (search) toothbrushes.
Philips has filed lawsuits in the United States and Germany, seeking to stop Gillette from selling the toothbrushes, as well as unspecified monetary damages.
"We believe that Gillette illegally used our technology in their new sonic toothbrushes," a Philips spokeswoman said.
Sonic toothbrushes have heads that move back and forth quickly, rather than in a circular motion, and emit a distinctive sound.
Gillette, which plans to launch its Oral-B Sonic Complete (search) toothbrush in August -- with a price of $99.99 to $119.99 -- denied the patent infringement charge.
"We're confident that our Oral-B products don't infringe any Philips technology patent," Michele Szynal, a Gillette spokeswoman, said.
Philips said it filed lawsuits in Delaware and Dusseldorf, Germany.