Acushnet (parent company of Titleist) has won a jury verdict against Callaway regarding four patents which Callaway owned related to the previous generation of Pro V1 golf balls. I wonder if this means Titleist will alter the next generation ball to utilize that technology again, now that they’ve been found not to be infringing on Callaway’s patents? I noticed quite a difference in the balls from the two different years, not in performance per se, but in the feel, durability and tackiness of the ball.
Official Acushnet press release below
Fairhaven, MA (March 29, 2010) – Acushnet Company, the golf business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), and manufacturer of Titleist, the #1 ball in golf, announced that it won a jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in its golf ball patent dispute with Callaway Golf Co.. Callaway asserted that previous generation Titleist Pro V1 golf balls had infringed on four patents originally owned by Spalding and subsequently purchased by Callaway Golf. The jury agreed with Acushnet’s position that the patents in question are invalid.
“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision, and we hope that this finally brings this long standing dispute to a close,” said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Company. “We have explained throughout this process that Acushnet independently developed the technology in question. The Titleist Pro V1 family utilizes technology from 74 Acushnet patents and was first introduced to our PGA TOUR players in October 2000, well before any of the Spalding patents were issued in 2001 and 2003. We appreciate the jury’s careful consideration of the facts and the time they devoted to these proceedings. This verdict affirms our view that all claims in these patents are invalid – just as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) has repeatedly found.”
In January 2006, before Callaway filed this litigation, Acushnet petitioned the PTO to reexamine the four patents in the suit. Since then, the PTO has repeatedly found that all claims of all four patents are invalid. During this process, seven separate PTO examiners were involved in evaluating the validity of these patents and all seven concluded that they are invalid.
Acushnet Company has a comprehensive product and process Research and Development staff and the Pro V1 golf ball franchise represents the accumulation of technology developed by Acushnet over a 20-year period. As the worldwide golf ball performance and technology leader, Acushnet currently holds over 715 of the nearly 2,000 active patents related to golf balls – more than any other manufacturer.
This outcome was not to surprising.
It serves Callaway’s ridiculously arrogant management right.