Titleist Ordered To Stop The Sale Of Pro V1

Titleist Golf has been ordered to stop the sale of the current Pro V1 golf ball effective no later than January 1, 2009.

From a Callaway Golf press release issued earlier today…

CARLSBAD, CA – November 10, 2008 — Callaway Golf  (NYSE: ELY) today announced that the United States District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, has granted Callaway Golf's request for a permanent injunction to stop sales of Acushnet's current line of Titleist Pro V1 family of golf balls, effective no later than January 1, 2009.   At Callaway Golf's request, professional golfers will be allowed to play Pro V1 golf balls through the end of this calendar year.

In its ruling today, the Court also rejected Acushnet's request to overturn the jury's December 2007 verdict which found that Callaway Golf's golf ball patents were valid and infringed by Acushnet's Titleist Pro V1 family of golf balls.

"Callaway Golf has invested millions of dollars in Research and Development to create innovative products for millions of golfers around the world, and has protected those products with one of the broadest patent portfolios in golf," said Steve McCracken, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Callaway Golf.  "We are very pleased with today's decision which will stop the sale of these infringing Pro V1 golf balls."

Titleist responded with a press release late tonight…

Fairhaven, MA (November 10, 2008) — Acushnet Company, the golf business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), announced that it will file an appeal of today's ruling in a U.S. District Court in Delaware granting Callaway Golf's request for an injunction in the long-running dispute with respect to four Callaway patents and Acushnet's Titleist Pro V1 golf balls.  The company also announced that it does not expect the ruling to have a material adverse impact on its results.

"We strongly disagree with the judge's ruling and will file an appeal and seek relief from the injunction", said Joe Nauman, executive vice president, corporate and legal of Acushnet. "However, it's important to recognize that this ruling will not have any impact on our ability to supply our customers with Pro V1 golf balls because of the following actions which we have undertaken.  In September 2008, we converted production of the existing Pro V1 models so that they are outside of the patents in question; and we have also developed and will be introducing new and improved Titleist Pro V1 products in the first quarter of 2009 that are also outside the scope of the patents in question."

"Our Pro V1 golf balls are the product of technology developed and accumulated by the Acushnet Company over the past 20 years", Nauman continued.  Acushnet is the industry leader in developing golf ball technology and has over 650 active golf ball patents, more than any other manufacturer.  Over 65 of these patents are related to the Pro V1 family.

"We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously and we fully expect to prevail in having all claims of all four patents at issue determined to be invalid in the appeal process", Nauman added.  "Our confidence is underpinned by the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued final office actions which have determined these patents to be invalid."

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