Back in the Swing of Things: San Diego’s Callaway Golf Settles Patent Dispute

By Joseph Mandour on May 7, 2012

Patent Law FirmSan Diego – More than six years after San Diego based Callaway Golf became embroiled in a heated patent infringement battle with competitor Acushnet, the two companies have announced a joint settlement “of all pending litigation and disputes, including disputes beyond the golf ball suits between the parties.”

The settlement did not involve either party paying the other money, however the agreement
will allow both companies to manufacture and market golf ball and golf club components under patents owned by the other.

In February 2006, Callaway Golf filed a patent infringement complaint against Acushnet after the Fairhaven, Massachusetts-based company submitted a reexamination request of four Callaway golf ball patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In the complaint, Callaway claimed that certain patents it had acquired from Spalding in a 2003 bankruptcy auction had been infringed by Acushnet’s Pro V1 golf balls. After numerous legal filings, lawsuits, countersuits, rulings, and reversals, the court ruled in favor of Callaway in December 2007. However, that verdict was set aside by an appeals court, leading Callaway to request a new trial.

In 2011, Callaway suffered a major setback in the case when the Board of Patent Appeals declared that Acushnet’s claims that the four patents were indeed invalid, a ruling that was eventually followed by a judgment in Acushnet’s favor in a Delaware U.S. District Court. Furthermore, that ruling was appealed by Callaway just months before the two companies came to the out-of-court settlement.

The patents at issue involve breakthrough technology for producing multilayer, solid core golf balls. This type of premium golf ball, consisting of the solid core surrounded by a thin, hard mantle and soft-feeling cover made of urethane or a similar elastomer, is highly appealing to the very best golfers.

Callaway Golf Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of golf clubs, markets and sells its equipment and accessories in more than seventy countries through golf retailers, sporting goods stores, mass merchants, directly online, and through its pre-owned and trade-in programs. Founded by Ely R. Callaway, Jr., Callaway Golf was initially made golf clubs that were hickory sticks, which were hickory shafts with a steel core.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement