Bridgestone v Titleist Settled

The Wall Street Journal has a column on the proceedings in the Bridgestone v Acushnet/Titleist lawsuit. After two years of suit and countersuit, the two companies came to an out-of-court settlement on Monday. Of course, in such a settlement, both sides usually are mum about the results, but it looks to me as though Bridgestone was the winner:

As in most out-of-court settlements, the companies provided scant details about the terms of the deal, but in press releases they did divulge this much: Acushnet, a unit of Fortune Brands, agreed to pay royalties under several Bridgestone’s patents, and the companies will share certain other patents without exchanging royalties.

Bridgestone wasn’t the only one suing Titleist, though. There’s still a suit to settle from Callaway, which is suing Titleist over patents they acquired when they bought Top Flite.

Given that other companies were marketing comparable balls even before the Pro V1 made its debut, it’s not surprising that intellectual property disputes would arise. Acushnet, Bridgestone and Callaway all base their claims on patents dating back to the early 1990s or before. Bridgestone, incidentally, is no bit player. Despite having only an 8% share of the U.S. market, its balls are well-regarded by industry insiders and highly popular in its home base of Japan. The company also manufactures Nike’s balls, including those that Tiger Woods plays.

The article is an interesting read. You also can read more at the Golf Patents Blog.

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4 thoughts on “Bridgestone v Titleist Settled”

  1. Amazing this has finally finished, and it does look like Bridgestone was the winner, obviously rightly so. Wonder what patents Titleist will be sharing? Perhaps the details behind their covers, which Bridgstone should take notice of – their balls are in bits after 4 or 5 good shots.

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  2. Do you think the cover problem is present in the Bridgestone balls? I have’nt had a problem. I’ll play a E5 or E6 for a couple of rounds if I don’t lose it. On the other hand, I think its absolutely true with the Nike balls, which sometimes don’t survive the first hole.

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  3. I think the e5 lasts a pretty good time, I don’t know about the B330, I have only played with one sleeve and that sleeve was lost before the end of the round.  However, the ProV1 does have something about it, it is almost like a forcefield.  The longest I have ever played with one ball was a ProV1 which lasted 39 holes before it went for a swim, and it looked very good- not new, but close.  I have played nearly a full round with an e5 and they looked pretty good, I don’t know if that looked that good.  HXHots and HXBlacks from Callaway do tend to hold up second best I think to the ProV1s.  NXTs tend to get torn up pretty quick.

    As far as Nike though, I am going through an old box of NikeOnes and they are pretty durable too.

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