A federal appeals court Friday ordered a lower court to reconsider a decision that allowed Energizer Holdings Inc. (ENR) to continue selling its Quattro razor during a patent fight with Gillette Co. (G).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled the lower court judge had erred when she denied Gillette's bid for a preliminary injunction that would have barred sales of the four-blade Quattro razor.

The appeals court vacated the earlier ruling and sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

"We are pleased that the Court of Appeals Schick Quattro," Gillette said.

Gillette has argued that any razor head with a group of three blades would be covered by its patent. Its Mach3 razor (search) and M3Power (search), a pulsating razor based on Mach3, as well as the women's Venus razor, each have three blades. Energizer's Quattro (search) and the recently launched Quattro for Women each have four blades.

St. Louis-based Energizer's Schick-Wilkinson Sword (search) is the No. 2 razor company behind Boston-based Gillette. The rivals have been waging legal battles since Schick released new products -- including Quattro -- to try to cut into Gillette's dominance of the global shaving market.

Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in January 2004 rejected a bid to halt Quattro sales on the grounds that the device infringes on the patent for Gillette's three-bladed Mach3 razor.

Gillette said it has not finalized its next steps, while Energizer could not immediately comment.

In a separate case, a German court ruled in December that Quattro does not infringe a Gillette's European patent on three-bladed shaving systems.

Shares of Energizer and Gillette were each down about 1 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.