OGIO sues Callaway Golf over golf bag design infringement
A couple weeks ago, I reported on a flap between OGIO, Sun Mountain, and Burton. It seems that OGIO had discovered that some of its most popular bag names were being used by the other companies. After a little digging it became apparent that Sun Mountain had used the names in question first, but that Burton had in fact trodden on an OGIO moniker.
The tricky thing is that bag names are not generally trademarked, unless the company wants to spend the cash to do so.
Design innovations, however, are not at all like bag names. Companies take great pride and spend considerable green on procuring and protecting patents on their designs.
So when equipment giant Callaway continued to install in its bags one of OGIO’s patented design features years after the two companies ended a manufacturing agreement, the divot hit the fan.
The feature in question, the OGIO Woode organizing top, was such a high-demand feature when it was first introduced in 2002 that Callaway Golf Company requested the design on its OGIO-engineered bags. OGIO provided original equipment manufacturing services for Callaway from 2000 through 2005.
Despite the mutual agreement to part ways nearly three years ago, according to OGIO, a patent-violating version of the Woode top continues to appear on Callaway-designed golf bags in its 2008 collection.
“OGIO’s reputation hinges on our innovation. Buyers and customers alike seek out and expect OGIO’s components to offer a technologically forward approach to solving problems,” says OGIO’s VP operations, Gary Bowen. “As such, we will protect our intellectual property while alerting our retail partners to avoid selling any gear that infringes on our patents.”
OGIO’s Woode Club Management System was issued patent number 6,877,604 B2 on April 12, 2005. The Woode organizing top consists of a stadium-style profile for wood containment, and egg- crate-inspired cradles for irons, to facilitate easy access and protect gear in transit. OGIO’s patented Putter Port - which elevates putters in plain sight amidst taller gear – is also part of the Woode top.
Most golfers probably think of the golf bag as the ugly cousin of golf equipment. But all bags are not created equal – at least, not if they respect other companies’ patents.
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