March 28, 2019
Golf equipment companies TaylorMade and PXG have settled a lawsuit arising from TaylorMade’s alleged infringement of PXG patents. The proceeding in Arizona federal court involved multiple claims and counter-claims relating to 23 patents held by the parties.
PXG initially announced the suit in a September 2017 tweet by Dr. Bob Parsons, the founder of the company (short for Parsons Xtreme Golf). In the tweet, Parsons alleged that TaylorMade infringed multiple PXG patents in producing and selling its new P790 irons series. TaylorMade subsequently countersued in November 2017, alleging that PXG’s patents were invalid and that PXG had in turn infringed some of TaylorMade’s own patents.
The infringement and invalidity claims related to patents for various aspects of club design. Both TaylorMade and PXG manufacture irons which feature hollow heads, thin faces, and external tungsten weighting.
In August 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began an inter partes review of two of the patents at issue in the litigation (US Patent Nos. 9,199,143 and 8,961,336). This process could have resulted in the invalidation of one or more of either parties’ patents.
According to a joint statement released by the parties, under the terms of the agreement, each company will have specified rights under cross-licenses to use each other’s patented technologies. The other details of the settlement agreement are confidential.
The golf equipment industry is widely seen as a uniquely active field for inventors and patent-holders. There are thousands more golf-related patents registered with the USPTO than patents connected to any other sport. According to a 2002 press release by the USPTO, golf’s prominence in the patent world is likely due to the time and money golfers spend on improving their performance.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Wes Ducther-Walls