A court in Delaware has granted Callaway Golf’s request for an injunction to stop Acushnet from selling the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. Acushnet, however, plans to appeal the ruling and says it will not impact the company’s ability to sell Pro V1s.
The United States District Court in Wilmington, Del., made the ruling on Monday in the long-running dispute between the two companies over four Callaway patents and the Pro V1 line of balls. According to a release by Callaway, the injunction is to take effect "no later than January 1, 2009."
Steve McCracken, senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Callaway, said in the release: "Callaway Golf has invested millions of dollars in research and development to create innovative products for millions of golfers around the world, and has protected those products with one of the broadest patent portfolios in golf. We are very pleased with today’s decision which will stop the sale of these infringing Pro V1 golf balls."
Joe Nauman, Acushnet’s executive vice president of corporate and legal, said in a statement: "We strongly disagree with the judge’s ruling and will file an appeal and seek relief from the injunction."
Nauman went on to say, "It’s important to recognize that this ruling will not have any impact on our ability to supply our customers with Pro V1 golf balls because of the following actions which we have undertaken. In September 2008, we converted production of the existing Pro V1 models so that they are outside of the patents in question. And we have also developed, and will be introducing, new and improved Pro V1 products in the first quarter of 2009 that are also outside the scope of the patents in question."
Based on that statement, golfers who wish to purchase Pro V1 balls should expect to find them in pro shops for the immediate future despite the legal victory for Callaway. Essentially, Acushnet seems to be arguing that the patents at the heart of the suit are no longer in use for current Pro V1 models. Callaway also said in its release that "professional golfers will be allowed to play Pro V1 golf balls through the end
of this calendar year."
In December 2007, a jury ruled that Acushnet had infringed on four Callaway patents. 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. That motion led to Monday’s ruling.
(Photo by Greg Lord)