Callaway has won the latest legal battle in its patent dispute with the Acushnet Company over Titleist Pro V1 golf balls, but Acushnet said this ruling will not impact its ability to manufacture or sell the balls.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Acushnet's request for a stay of a previously-granted permanent injunction to stop sales of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls.
"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 for Callaway Golf.
The injunction is effective January 1, 2009, but The Acushnet Company, manufacturers of Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra golf equipment, said in a statement that it will continue the appeals process in the patent dispute, and that this latest ruling will have no impact on consumers' ability to buy Pro V1s.
"This decision will not interfere with Titleist's ability to continue to manufacture, distribute and sell Pro V1 golf balls," said Joe Nauman, executive vice president for corporate and legal at Acushnet.
In the statement, Acushnet also noted, "In September, well in advance of the District Court's injunction decision, the production of existing Pro V1 model golf balls was converted to be outside the patents in question. As of January 1, 2009, there will be limited amounts of non-converted Pro V1 golf balls in retail inventory."
"Acushnet does not believe that the injunction order requires Acushnet to recall any Pro V1 golf balls from retailers, or that retailers are required to return any golf balls to Acushnet," continued Nauman. "However, Acushnet is prepared to accept returns of non-converted retail inventory if requested by retailers."
In December 2007, a jury ruled that Acushnet had infringed on multiple Callaway patents with the Pro V1 ball. After that decision, Callaway Golf filed a motion seeking to bring a halt to the production and sale of the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, and Acushnet sought a new trial. In November 2008, a trial court denied Acushnet's motion and granted the injunction, to be effective January 1, 2009. Acushnet then requested a stay of the injunction, which was denied this week.