Callaway Golf set company records in 2003 in the successful global pursuit of counterfeiters, knockoff artists and other violators of Callaway Golf patents, copyrights and trademarks.
Using the civil courts and a wide variety of local, national and international law enforcement agencies, Callaway Golf conducted enforcement actions in 11 countries resulting in the seizure or forfeiture of more than 37,000 counterfeit or infringing golf clubs,
components, shirts, bags and other items. In all, the Company recovered more than $1 million in cash from businesses that had sold golf clubs or components that infringed Callaway Golf's intellectual property. In an enforcement breakthrough, the Company also supported
law enforcement in obtaining a criminal conviction of a U.S.-based
seller of counterfeits on eBay after an investigation that led
authorities back to a supplier in China.
“We hope this list of enforcement successes sends a message, loud
and clear, to those who think they can get away with stealing our
intellectual property — we will pursue them and prosecute them,” said
Steve McCracken, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Legal
Officer of Callaway Golf. “Callaway Golf is known worldwide for making
premium products with superior performance attributes, and we owe it
to our customers and consumers to protect them from imposters.”
The Callaway Golf 2003 enforcement effort spanned the globe,
resulting in successful operations in the United States, Japan,
Thailand, People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Denmark,
Spain, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Assists came from a
variety of law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, which seized many sets of counterfeit “Callaway
Golf” clubs imported from China into Anchorage, Alaska, as well as
Customs authorities in Spain, who seized 200 knock-offs of the
Odyssey(R) White Hot(R) 2-Ball Putter.
In New York State, a Callaway Golf investigation of counterfeit
golf club sales on eBay.com resulted in the successful criminal
prosecution of an Erie County, New York resident and the subsequent
raid of a factory in China. To avoid a more serious charge related to
his sales, William Meyers of Clarence Center, NY, pleaded guilty to
misdemeanor attempted counterfeiting. The counterfeit clubs Mr. Meyers
offered were tracked to Joyheart Golf Appliance Co. Ltd. in Xiamen
City, China. Supported by Callaway Golf investigators and attorneys,
Chinese authorities raided Joyheart in an operation that netted over
700 counterfeit “Callaway” golf clubs and components.
The Company also devoted considerable resources around the world
to protecting its best-selling Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Putter. In
March 2003, faced with legal action, Japan-based golf club sellers
Kabushiki Kaisha Maruzen (“K.K. Maruzen”) and Kabushiki Kaisha Seima
(“K.K. Seima”) ceased the sale of their “White Shot New Wave Twin
Ball” putter, a copy of the Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Putter. In
November 2003, International Golf Warehouse of Orlando, Florida,
agreed to injunctions prohibiting it from selling 2-Ball knock-offs,
forfeited its extensive inventory of illegal Callaway Golf copies, and
paid Callaway Golf an undisclosed amount of money.
Callaway Golf continued its efforts to detect and stop Internet
sellers of counterfeit golf clubs, shutting down more than 650
auctions of counterfeits and illegal copies on several major Internet
auction sites, including eBay.com.
In another notable effort to protect its intellectual property,
Callaway Golf led the golf industry by obtaining 102 new U.S. patents
and 130 trademark registrations worldwide. Callaway Golf believes that
the number of U.S. patents issued to the Company is the largest number
of U.S. patents issued in 2003 in the golf industry and is second only
to Qualcomm among companies headquartered in San Diego County.