Judge rules in favor of Acushnet but Callaway will appeal to Federal Court

Titleist Pro V1 golf ball

The Acushnet Company (Titleist, FootJoy) on April 21 won a final judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in its long-running patent dispute with Callaway Golf Co.  The judge denied Callaway’s request for a new trial, and the case is officially closed in the U.S. District Court more than five years after Callaway filed a lawsuit asserting that Acushnet’s Titleist Pro V1 golf balls infringed on four Callaway patents.

“Today’s positive ruling substantiates what our contention has been throughout this process, that the patents in question were invalid and should never have been issued,” said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Co.  “We had confidence that once we had the opportunity to present all the evidence, and as we continued to receive favorable rulings from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO), we would prevail.  The confirmation by the U.S. District Court is another significant step in finalizing this case.”

The feud isn’t over, however. Callaway spokesman Tim Buckman told me late April 21 that the company will appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision especially in light of our victory in the first trial when Acushnet admitted infringing on our patents,’’ Buckman said.

In addition to its appeal, Buckman said Callaway Golf will pursue its second lawsuit against Acushnet for what it believes is infringement of its other patents.

The dispute began in January 2006 when Acushnet requested that the PTO reexamine the four patents in question.  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.  Last month, the PTO affirmed the patent examiner’s decision that the claims of four Callaway Golf patents were invalid.

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