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Callaway files countersuit against Bridgestone

Callaway Golf has filed a counter lawsuit against Bridgestone Sports in a dispute over the patent on the popular Rule 35 golf ball.

Callaway claimed in a suit filed today in U.S. District Court in Atlanta that Bridgestone originally filed its patent infringement suit against Callaway in order to stifle competition.

"Bridgestone has knowingly made unfounded claims of patent infringement against us in an effort to undermine the successful launch ... of our Rule 35 golf ball," Steve McCracken, Callaway's chief legal officer, said in a statement.

Atlanta-based Bridgestone Sports USA is the American subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Sports Co. and makes golf equipment under its Precept Golf brand.

A spokesman for Bridgestone Sports USA did not return a phone message left after business hours today.

Bridgestone's lawsuit said the company had denied Callaway's request to license the technology covered by the patents but Callaway released the Rule 35 anyway.

Colin Montgomerie one of the biggest names to use the Callaway ball. Allsport

Callaway denies infringing on any of Bridgestone's patents.

Callaway officials sent Bridgestone two e-mails about the Rule 35 ball, the company said.

The first e-mail sent Jan. 5 alerted Bridgestone that Callaway had finalized the Rule 35 ball and planned to introduce it in less than a month, according to the countersuit.

The e-mail also said Callaway might "want to use" some Bridgestone technology in future ball designs and that the Carlsbad-based company was interested in discussing possible licensing agreements.

In a second e-mail, dated Jan. 19, Callaway officials told Bridgestone that the Rule 25 was designed to "avoid any possible conflicts with (Bridgestone's) patents," the company said.



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