Sullivan patents

When I first switched from Strata Ultimate to Titliest ProV, I thought I was crazy when my mind imagined that the two golf balls felt and played the same (The only obvious different is that the latter plays longer off the tee due to improved material and dimple design).

That's until I read this article.

At issue is a series of patents referred to as the "Sullivan patents," a reference to Michael J. Sullivan. Sullivan is the former vice president of golf-ball research and development for Top-Flite who left that company in 1999 and is currently Acushnet¹s vice president for intellectual property.

The patents in question were used to develop a multilayer golf ball under the Top-Flite brand in the mid 1990s called the Strata that became popular on the PGA Tour and was the precursor for the move away from wound balls among tour players. Those patents were subsequently acquired by Callaway in its purchase of Top-Flite in 2004.

Callaway filed its lawsuit alleging patent infringement in February. Suggesting the Titleist Pro V1 line of golf balls "embody the technology of the Sullivan patents," the complaint alleges that Acushnet attempted to have the patents in question re-examined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and that Acushnet belatedly attempted to seek patents on "virtually the same technology" four years after the Sullivan patents were originally filed.

And why the sudden lawsuit? Hey maybe they just realized that it's a 1 billion dollar business by just making golf balls! And it's making me poorer by the week. Donations to my golf balls relief fund much welcome.


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