One of Costco's newest offerings, Kirkland Signature-brand golf clubs, has landed the Issaquah, Washington-based retailer in legal trouble.
In a patent infringement lawsuit filed last month, Carlsbad, California-based golf equipment company TaylorMade alleged Costco's sold-out $499.99 Kirkland Signature clubs are identical to its $1,399 P790 irons.
Costco began selling Kirkland Signature clubs in December. According to the lawsuit, Costco's manufacturers had a team that included a former TaylorMade engineer who had worked at the company during the development of P790, which launched in 2017.
Costco declined to comment on the lawsuit. The manufacturer, Southern California Design Company, did not respond to inquiries.
"The design of the accused products directly copies the patented features of the P790 irons, including features covered by the asserted patents," attorneys for TaylorMade said in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court of Southern California.
The lawsuit also alleges Costco's claims that the clubs have premium features such as an "injected urethane insert" are untrue. As a result, according to the lawsuit, Costco misled the public to believe the clubs "are similar to or equivalent to the TaylorMade P790 irons."
TaylorMade said its P790 irons "revolutionized the filled-iron category." The lawsuit is also intended to protect golfers "who may be duped and misled into thinking cheaper imitations will perform at the same level as the original," the company said in an email.
This is not the first time Costco has been sued for its golf products.
In 2017, Acushnet, a Massachusetts-based golf product company, which owns the Titleist brand, sued Costco for patent infringement and false advertising related to its Kirkland Signature golf balls. The case was dismissed the following year.
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