The legal battle between Costco and Acushnet, a company that owns Titleist and therefore the ProV1, is far from over. It seems as though the retailer has fiercely underestimated the golf ball industry.
To catch you up to speed, Costco created golf balls that instantly sold out when put on their shelves. Costco then claimed that it got a threatening letter from Acushnet, accusing their Kirkland Signature golf ball of violating 11 patents. They then filed a lawsuit against Acushnet asking the courts to rule that not only does it not violate the 11 patents but that the 11 patents themselves are invalid.
— R Ray Wang (王瑞光) (@rwang0) April 9, 2017
By taking this pre-emptive strike, Acushnet has fired back on all fours with a 284-page countersuit alleging that the Kirkland Signature ball not only infringes on 10 Acushnet-owned patents having to do with golf ball core and internal construction and dimple patterns, but that the Kirkland Signature guarantee amounts to false advertising.
Clearly, the company is not going to back down from their accusations, although they took away one patent they added false advertising to the countersuit. The Kirkland brand motto says that their products “must be equal to or better than the national brands.” The parent company to Titleist is claiming that Costco never tested their ball to other brands so how can they know its quality?
I’m sure the moment the Kirkland Signature golf balls hit the market, Titleist was testing the two side by side. Who wants a competitor that says their ball is the same or better than yours, at a significantly lower price? No one.
— Titleist (@Titleist) August 5, 2017
This may come as a shock to many because one of the cult Kirkland golf balls was just put on the USGA’s list of conforming balls. How could they say it’s conforming when it’s in the middle of a legal battle with their top golf ball brand?
Well apparently they made two types of balls, one called the Performance + and the one under investigation is the original balls with “Tour Performance” labeling. According to the USGA’s description, the Performance + features a three-piece construction with 338 dimples, while the Tour Performance is a four-piece ball with 360 dimples.
Costco was recently ordered to pay Tiffany & Co. $19.4 million for selling rings labeled “Tiffany.” In her decision, U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain wrote, “Costco’s upper management … displayed, at best, a cavalier attitude toward Costco’s use of the Tiffany name in conjunction with ring sales and marketing.”
So this is nothing new for Kirkland, and their “cavalier attitude” is sure to get them into trouble. If Acushnet is willing to create a 284-page document JUST for their countersuit, you can best believe they’re ready to battle. Are you team Costco or team Acushnet?