Callaway Wins Preliminary Battle in Patent Dispute with Maker of Titleist Golf Balls

Jan 30, 2009

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has denied a request from the golf equipment company Acushnet for relief from a previously-granted permanent injunction. The injunction had halted sales of Titleist golf balls after the court found that Acushnet may have violated the patents of Callaway Golf.
Callaway immediately hailed the court’s decision as a victory.
“Callaway Golf believes it is time for Acushnet to accept its losses in court and get on with the task of helping retailers clean up their inventories over the next week,” said Steve McCracken, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Callaway Golf, in a statement.
Callaway Golf first prevailed against Acushnet in the pending patent litigation when it won a jury verdict in December 2007. In that proceeding it was determined that Acushnet had infringed multiple valid claims in several U.S. golf ball patents owned by Callaway Golf.
Following the verdict, Callaway Golf sought an injunction against the infringing Pro V1 models, and Acushnet sought a new trial. In November 2008, the trial court denied Acushnet’s motion and granted the injunction, to be effective January 1, 2009.
In denying Acushnet’s motion to stay the injunction, the Court of Appeals ruled that Acushnet had neither shown that the balance of hardships tipped in its favor nor that it had shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits in its ultimate appeal.
Late last month, Acushnet reaffirmed its belief that it will ultimately win the legal battle when the Appeals Court reviews the issues in far greater detail, likely in late 2009.
“We firmly believe in our position and will continue to defend ourselves vigorously in the appeal process,” said Joe Nauman, executive vice president, corporate and legal of Acushnet. “We expect to prevail in having all claims of all four patents at issue determined to be invalid once the appeal is fully briefed and argued. Our confidence is underpinned by the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued final office actions which have determined these patents to be invalid.”


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