Avid golfers may be interested in the legal showdown between two industry giants, Costco and Titleist. Costco sells golf balls – at $15 a dozen – under the brand Kirkland Signature. Recently, the parent company of Titleist sent a letter to Costco claiming that the Kirkland Signature balls violated patents held by Titleist. It also claimed “false advertising” based on Costco’s claim that all Kirkland Signature products “meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands.” Titleist demanded that Costco stop selling the balls.
Costco did not take Titleist’s written demand lying down. Not only did Costco refuse to stop selling the golf balls, it filed a lawsuit against Titleist. According to Dan Navigato (a partner at Navigato & Battin and avid golfer himself), “The lawsuit is in effect a preemptive strike by Costco. By filing the lawsuit, Costco seeks an affirmative ruling by the court that the golf balls it is selling under the Kirkland Signature brand do not violate any of Titleist’s patents.”
The lawsuit could take years to resolve. Until then, you may want to stock up on the Kirkland Signature golf balls.