Callaway and Acushnet trade lawsuits like golfers trade birdies in match-play
A few weeks ago, I tried to make some sense of the ongoing kerfuffle between Callaway Golf and Acushnet (parent company of Titleist) on the TravelGolf.com podcast.
In short, a couple of years ago Callaway sued Acushnet for patent infringement. It seems Callaway feels that several of the design innovations incorporated into Titleist’s ProV1 and ProV1x golf balls were already covered by Callaway patents. A court order was issued to cease production of the ProV1 and ProV1x, which Acushnet appealed (and subsequently lost).
However, Acushnet also changed production specs on the balls, coming out with new 2009 models, and allowing retailers to trade in all their unsold ProV1s for the new ones. As I noted in the podcast, Tour players seem to be winning bucketloads of money with the new balls (including Geoff Ogilvy’s recent match-play win), so they seem to work every bit as well as the old rocks.
Well, just when we thought the Hatfields and McCoys had hung their muskets back above the mantel, another shot has been fired: Callaway has filed documents bringing into question the NEW ProV1 and ProV1x, too.
Next thing you know, the feud is back on. Acushnet is not only “vigorously defending” the new Callaway charges in court, it is also counter-suing Callaway for patent infringement, charging that Callaway’s Tour i and Tour ix golf balls tread all over nine Acushnet ball patents.
All of these volleys being fired back and forth remind me that in a feud, as in golf, it is good to keep your head down.
As for the new 2009 ProV1 and ProV1x, I was fortunate to be able to test a few sleeves of each not long ago, and as far as I can tell, they’re every bit as good as the originals, which, as we all know, revolutionized the golf ball industry.
I just wish Titleist – or any golf ball manufacturer – could come up with a patent to help me stop losing $5 balls in the desert, or woods, or water, or road. If they ever do, we can pretty clearly expect that the resulting competition — and feuds — will be even fiercer.
|« The Haney Project with Charles Barkley proves that misery loves company||Recession might level the golf equipment playing field »|
How do you mark your Titleist golf ball? I think I found a few of them...