On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied a request by the Acushnet Co. to stay a previously-granted permanent injunction to stop sales of infringing Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. The injunction is effective Jan. 1, 2009.
Two courts have now validated the injunction against infringing Pro V1s, the object of a multi-year-long, heated patent dispute.
Acushnet Co., the Fairhaven, Mass.-based company that owns the Titleist brand, countered the ruling by saying that it will move forward with the appeals process following this denial of its request for a stay of an injunction.
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, chief administrative officer of Callaway Golf.
Meanwhile, Acushnet asserted that it does not expect Tuesdays ruling to have a material adverse impact on its results and reaffirmed its confidence that it will ultimately win its appeal of the verdict. Moreover, Titleist is planning to reveal new Pro V1 products at the start of the new year, redesigned and produced with a new method not involving the disputed patents.
'This decision will not interfere with Titleists ability to continue to manufacture, distribute and sell Pro V1 golf balls, said Joe Nauman, executive vice president, corporate and legal of Acushnet. 'While the stay was not granted, we understand that it was a request for extraordinary relief based upon a limited review.
In December 2007, Callaway Golf won the first jury verdict against Acushnet in the pending patent litigation. 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 that 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 Acushnets motion and granted the injunction, to be effective Jan. 1, 2009.
While Callaway does own the patents that have allowed them to sue Acushnet for this injunction, Callaway did not originally file those patents. Spalding Top-Flite filed, and owned, the patents of the Pro V1 until Callaway purchased the company in 2003 after it filed for bankruptcy.
Callaway introduced its first multi-layer ball to tour professionals in January 2000.
Acushnet unvelied the Pro V1 with tour professionals in October 2000 and launched it publicly in December 2000.
The Pro V1 accounts for 22 percent of all golf ball sales.