Callaway loses patent ruling on rival Titleist’s golf balls

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Callaway Golf Co. failed to get the lift it had hoped for when a federal jury decided Monday that its patents for golf balls weren’t valid.

The decision by the jury in Wilmington, Del., rejected the Carlsbad, Calif., company’s $246-million claim that rival ball maker Titleist infringed its patents.

The jury sided with Titleist’s arguments that even though its Pro V1 golf balls infringed the patents, the patents themselves weren’t enforceable because the design and construction did not represent a new concept or innovation when the patents were issued in 2001 and 2003. Titleist also argued that its design was developed independently.


Callaway had patented the use of multiple layers of different materials inside its golf balls, which Titleist contended was an obvious approach to construction.

“We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision, and we hope that this finally brings this long-standing dispute to a close,” said Joe Nauman, an executive vice president of Titleist parent Acushnet Co., a unit of Fortune Brands Inc.

Callaway said it would appeal the decision.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict,” said Steve McCracken, a Callaway executive.

Callaway filed its patent lawsuit against Fortune Brands of Deerfield, Ill., in 2006. The next year, a jury ruled that three of the patents were valid and one was partly valid, but the findings were overturned last year on appeal.


Shares of Fortune Brands rose 28 cents to $49.34 on Monday; Callaway fell 22 cents to $8.76.