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Dunlop sue Callaway over ball design

Dunlop Slazenger Group Americas has countersued Callaway Golf Co. in the two companies' ongoing dispute about who stole whose recipe for making a better golf ball.

Callaway, which entered the $650 million a year golf ball industry less than two years ago, sued Dunlop on Oct. 3, alleging the makers of the Maxfli A-10 golf ball infringed on Callaway's technology patent for its Rule 35 ball.

Dunlop has been making golf balls for more than 100 years and the technology for its A-10 was developed before Callaway entered the market, Dunlop spokesman Edward Hughes said.

In its lawsuit, the Greenville-based Dunlop claims Callaway is using Dunlop techniques and secret recipes to make Callaway golf balls.

Callaway spokesman Larry Dorman said his company spent $170 million to start its golf ball operations from scratch. The company, based in Carlsbad, Calif., also is well known for its line of golf clubs, including the popular Big Bertha drivers.

On Oct. 9, Callaway announced that it had signed a golf ball patent license agreement with Bridgestone Sports Co., of Japan, that allows Callaway to use a number of Bridgestone Sports three-piece golf ball patents worldwide. The confidential agreement ended litigation between the two companies.

Dunlop says it is the No. 3 manufacturer of golf balls, while Callaway says it has 5 percent of the market.

For the first half of 2001, Callaway reported golf ball sales at $32 million. Dunlop is a private company and does not report sales.

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