Callaway denied new trial in Acushnet/ProV1 dispute – more to come

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, April 25th, 2011
Categories: Golf BallsGolf Gear

The Callaway vs Acushnet (parent company of Titleist) patent case has been going on now for about five years.  It has been like a boxing match with each heavyweight fighter seemingly getting knocked out, only to gain consciousness at the last second and deliver a near-knockout blow of their own.

Callaway scored a big victory in 2007, forcing Acushnet to stop selling the current revision of the ProV1, though that took nearly two years to happen.  Acushnet was forced to change the golf balls at that time.  I remember those few months when my buddies were stocking up on ProV1’s, just in case the new versions weren’t as good.  Acushnet later won an appeal on that ruling, and the court game was back on.

This past time around, Acushnet won as the judge upheld a jury verdict from March 2010, determining that the four patents in dispute were invalid.  Callaway was denied a request for a new trial.  Callaway has the option to appeal, but apparently will start a new suit for alleged infringement of other patents.

Acushnet’s Press Release Below – Click read more if you can’t see it

Four Callaway Golf ball patents determined invalid

Fairhaven, MA (April 21, 2011) – Acushnet Company, the golf business of Fortune Brands, Inc., announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware provided its final judgment in Acushnet Company’s favor today in a long-running patent dispute with Callaway Golf. The judge denied Callaway’s request for a new trial, and the case is officially closed in the U.S. District Court more than five years after Callaway filed a lawsuit asserting that Acushnet’s Titleist Pro V1 golf balls infringed on four Callaway patents.

“Today’s positive ruling substantiates what our contention has been throughout this process, that the patents in question were invalid and should never have been issued,” said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Company. “We had confidence that once we had the opportunity to present all the evidence, and as we continued to receive favorable rulings from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO), we would prevail. The confirmation by the U.S. District Court is another significant step in finalizing this case.”

The dispute began in January 2006 when Acushnet requested that the PTO reexamine the four patents in question. Callaway filed a lawsuit in February 2006 asserting that Acushnet’s Titleist Pro V1 golf balls infringed certain claims of those patents. In March 2010, a jury determined that all four patents were invalid as obvious and anticipated. Last month, the PTO affirmed the patent examiner’s decision that the claims of four Callaway Golf patents were invalid. Today, the judge upheld the jury verdict on obviousness and rejected Callaway’s request for a new trial. Callaway has the option to appeal the case to the Federal Circuit.

Acushnet Company is the industry leader in developing golf ball technology and has over 700 active golf ball patents – more than any other manufacturer. Titleist Pro V1 golf balls are the product of technology developed and accumulated by the Acushnet Company over the past 20 years, and over 65 Acushnet Company patents are related to the Pro V1 family.

Titleist and FootJoy comprise the major golf brands of Acushnet Company, an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE – FO).

Joe Gomes
Director of Communications
Acushnet Company

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