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February 7, 2024

TaylorMade sues Costco over club patents

By Alabama Golf News Staff
Costco Storefront

The entry by Costco into golf has not come without cost – in the form of lawsuits by the makers of golf balls and clubs whose manufacturers say their patents were infringed upon.

Its Kirkland brand golf balls led to a suit in 2017 by Titleist, maker of the Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls. Now, Costco’s sale of lower-cost irons has it on the receiving end of a lawsuit by TaylorMade, according to the financial news website, The Street.

The latest lawsuit charges that Costco’s $499 Kirkland Signature Players Irons violate patents owned by TaylorMade, specifically patents related to its popular P790 iron, which has a similar hollow-cavity design.

“The Costco golf shop carries a wide variety of golf clubs to suit every skill level and budget, so you’re sure to find the perfect set of clubs,” the company says on its website. “We have everything from women’s golf clubs to pitching wedges. Pick up a popular Kirkland Signature putter to improve your precision or a sleek titanium driver so you can propel the ball farther than ever before,”

The lawsuit also accuses the warehouse club of falsely advertising its clubs, The Street reported.

“Defendants’ false statements are material to purchasing decisions because they falsely or misleadingly suggest that the accused products have features found on premium clubs such as the TaylorMade P790,” the suit alleges.

TaylorMade is seeking unspecified compensatory damages “to be proven at trial,” The Street reported. 

It’s Costco’s 2nd lawsuit over its golf products

TaylorMade, based in Carlsbad, Calif., filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleging that Costco and its vendor, Southern California Design Co., have infringed on multiple patents.

“The accused products copy many features and technologies from TaylorMade’s P790 irons and the asserted patents. Costco’s website notes that the accused products ‘are built for distance and forgiveness with a stainless steel body, injected urethane insert, and an internal tungsten weight for optimal launch, forgiveness, and playability,'” according to the complaint, which had earlier reported

TaylorMade’s lawsuit alleges that Southern California Design copies aspects of its P790 filled iron clubs. The company, which introduced the club in 2017, fills the cavity of the club with a special polymer it calls SpeedFoam.

Costco did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, The Street reported.

In the earlier lawsuit, Titleist alleged that Costco “violated three of its patents to knock off its highest-priced golf balls and then sold them at a significantly lower price,” The Street reported.

The warehouse club countersued Titleist and the two parties eventually settled out of court.

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Featured image courtesy of Costco

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