Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) sued TaylorMade Golf in federal court on Sept. 12, claiming in a lengthy filing that TaylorMade's new hollow-body P790 irons violate eight of their patents related to their design and construction of PXG's 0311 irons, their flagship iron technology.
As part of the filing, the Bob Parsons-fronted company was hoping for a judge to grant a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) which would prohibit TaylorMade from selling its new P790 irons on their intended Sept. 15 release date. The company wanted a TRO first as a stay to prohibit TaylorMade from kicking off sales while the case progresses. The granting of a TRO in such a case is typically an indication the presiding judge feels the plaintiffs will win at trial.
However, the presiding judge, John Tuchi, refused to issue the TRO on release day after hearing one-hour arguments from both sides of the case. Bottom line: TaylorMade can sell its P790 irons while the case is ongoing. There will be a hearing in November for a preliminary injunction which could stunt or stop the iron's sales.
Not getting the TRO could be as big of a problem for PXG as a protracted legal battle. After all, PXG's suit is predicated on the idea that the P790 irons are, in their view, effectively technological copies of their original raison d'etre, with TaylorMade selling them at half the price.
Ultimately, PXG is seeking a jury trial over the claims, ultimately hoping for TaylorMade to be forced to pay damages for violating the patents and their brand and be compelled to stop producing and selling the P790s. In the meantime, PXG has also filed two separate lawsuits against three of the U.S.'s largest golf retailers, suing Worldwide Golf Shops, PGA Tour Superstore and Dick's Sporting Goods in filings made Sept. 14 and Sept. 15.
The suits read similarly to the complaint against TaylorMade, effectively charging the retailers with willful promotion, storage and sale of a TaylorMade product PXG claims is a violation of their intellectual property. The suits seek similar remedies, too, including forcing the retailers, which do not sell PXG equipment in store, to stop selling the P790 irons and pay a financial penalty for the infringement and the damage done to the PXG brand.
Curiously, PXG has not yet filed for a temporary restraining order in either suit against the retailers. This means a protracted legal fight could not kickstart with a legal order to require the retailers to take the P790s off the store floor and its online sales channels. Of course, this could change.
Under patent law, PXG has a right to not only sue the accused infringing manufacturer but also those who sell and purchase the infringing product. It would be a bad business move, but PXG could even sue golfers who purchase the P790 irons.
This is just the beginning of what appears to be a pivotal suit for PXG. Stay tuned.