Acushnet Company gets latest court victory over Callaway

In a victory for Acushnet Company in a long-running patent dispute with Callaway Golf, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) affirmed the patent examiner’s decision that the claims of four Callaway Golf patents are invalid.

Acushnet Company requested that the PTO reexamine the four patents in January 2006. Callaway filed a lawsuit in February 2006 asserting that Acushnet’s Titleist Pro V1 golf balls infringed certain claims of those patents. In March 2010, a jury determined that all four patents were invalid as obvious and anticipated.

“Throughout this long-running dispute, first with Spalding and then its successor Callaway, Acushnet has always maintained that these patents are invalid and should never have been issued,” said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Company. “The Board of Patent Appeals’ decision is one significant step closer to having that view finally and permanently confirmed by the court system.”

Although appeal opportunities exist for both the Board of Patent Appeals decision and the jury verdict, Nauman said Acushnet remains confident that all four patents will ultimately be confirmed invalid.

Callaway, however, sees things different. In a statement, the company said it believes

“We believe the Patent Office got the decision wrong and did not have the authority to decide the validity of the patents,” the statement said. “As the federal court in Delaware has already ruled, Acushnet breached its contract with Callaway Golf by asking the Patent Office to reexamine the validity of the patents.  If necessary, we will appeal the decision to the Federal Circuit.  The validity of the patents is currently being considered independently in the only appropriate forum, the federal court in Delaware, so the decision from the Patent Office does not end the case.”

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