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Cleveland Golf sues Callaway over use of ‘Roger Cleveland’ name

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Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. and Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. filed a trademark infringement, unfair competition and trademark dilution against Callaway Golf Company for imprinting the name “Roger Cleveland” on its Mack Daddy 2 wedges.

In 1990, Roger Cleveland sold all shares and ownership interest in the Roger Cleveland Golf Company he founded, later leaving the company to join the Callaway Golf in 1996. Cleveland Golf was understandably not thrilled when Callaway’s Mack Daddy 2 wedges were released in July with “DESIGNED BY ROGER CLEVELAND” printed on the back of the wedges.

Cleveland Golf is allegedly the owners of multiple federally registered trademarks, which the company believes are being infringed upon. They are also stating that using the name Roger Cleveland on Callaway wedges confuses the marketplace, and misleads consumers to thinking that the wedges are affiliated with or originated from Cleveland Golf.

The plaintiff, that being Cleveland Golf, is calling for Callaway to cease and desist the unauthorized use of the Cleveland name, but Callaway has not met their demands.

To summarize: Callaway Golf is being sued because it put Roger Cleveland’s name on a wedge that he designed.

Cleveland Golf certainly has a case, especially as owners of the registered trademarks in question. But this probably wouldn’t be a problem for Callaway if Mr. Cleveland wasn’t so good at designing wedges. So yes, there’s a bright side.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Ken Lines

    Jan 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I always thought most golfers knew Rodger Cleveland worked for Callaway so why risk a lawsuit putting his name on a wedge? I have heard some good stories about Callaway such as buying the Ben Hogan Company but I do not have direct access to the details.

  2. CCL

    Nov 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I’m rooting for the game of golf, the golfing public, and small shop owners and professionals. Hopefully, this lawsuit will not negatively affect us, and I don’t expect it will.

  3. website

    Nov 18, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Great article. I am dealing wіth many of &X74;&X68;ese iss&X75;&X65;ѕ as well..

  4. chowchow

    Nov 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Nothing new for the biggest bunch of scumbags in the golf equipment industry. Callaway had the same problem with the Phil Mickelson line.. Titleist stopped that. Titleist owns Phil’s name, just like they do Scotty Cameron. Phil jumped from Titleist who was bring out a PM line back in 2005-2006. BUT Fat Phil wnet off in a Vegas casino and lost several million bucks. He couldn’t cover the debt. Went to Titleist and wanted a big advance on his next contract. Tilteist said no.. They had to wait until Jan 1 when new contracts were handled. Callaway got wind.. Paid off Phil’s gambling losses and sighed him as their face. Callaway and Phil are both a bunch of gutter sleaze bags

  5. GolfDad907

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Wow, can’t put the guy who designed the club’s name on it? Waaay too many lawyers in this world.

    Desperate is how this makes Cleveland appear.

    • chowchow

      Nov 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Roger Cleveland is in cahoots with another backer in buying back Cleveland Golf. Sirixon wants to dump them. Lawyers have nothing to do with Clevelands name. Roger Cleveland signed his name away freely to make a buck. Blame Cleveland for that. Greed was his reasoning

    • GSark

      Nov 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      Exactly.

  6. N

    Nov 1, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Wow, M over here just calling people “eejits” and telling them they know nothing, while not actually contributing anything meaningful to the conversation. Way to go champ!

    Yes it’s the guy’s name, but Callaway is clearly putting RC’s name there in an attempt to move the consumers that don’t know that he’s at Callaway over to their side. I 100% agree that Cleveland is a company with very little influence, and it may not be around in 10 years, but they may well have a case…it will definitely be interesting to see!

  7. Jim

    Oct 31, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    As an IP attorney, I would want to see the employment agreement and other assignments made by Mr. Cleveland to the company. There is plenty of common law around people’s rights to use their names (it’s not as simple as you might think), but general legal rights get trumped by rights assigned in contracts.

    • GSark

      Oct 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      One of the most clear and concise statements which precisely illustrates what is wrong with this world. It’s amazing that inside the grey matter of certain individuals is the notion of whether or not individuals have ownership rights to the names on their birth certificates. Please sir, do us all a favor and take a very long walk off of a very short pier.

      • J

        Nov 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        Yes, because knowing the law is an evil thing, and it is Jim’s fault that our legal system allows parties to contract to whatever they see fit. The structure of law in this country gives you more benefits and conveniences than you realize. Sounds like you need to expand your own grey matter before misconstruing and attacking other people’s legal analyses.

        • GSark

          Nov 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm

          Evil? Who said anything about evil? Who blamed anything on Jim? If you cannot read and comprehend without inference, you should stay out of discussions. I said he illustrates what is wrong with this world, and contracting to sell something your mother gave you the day you were born is one of them. People who deal in such things as though they were buying or selling cotton candy is another. Jim is not at fault, he didn’t invent it, he just bought in.
          Yes it was a little strong to ask for favors, but I believe that those who look at such things and comment so callously need a little cooling off.

    • Randy Goldberg

      Nov 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Jim, you are right on. Until such time that all documents, agreements, and assignments can be reviewed, no definitive answer or resolve can be achieved.

      • GSark

        Nov 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm

        Really? I’ll take a stab… they’ll go to arbitration. After a lot of wrangling and millions in lawyers fees they’ll reach and agreement neither side will be truly happy with, but one in which the legal teams of both sides will call a victory.

    • froneputt

      Nov 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

      I am also interested over what Roger Cleveland assigned to Cleveland Golf when he left. If you search under the USPTO, you find “Cleveland Golf” as a protected trademark. My guess is that Cleveland Golf’s complaint is the use of “Cleveland” on an obviously Callaway wedge is confusing to the marketplace. One question I’d have is whether they’d have the same complaint if “Designed by Joe Cleveland” was on the Callaway wedge.

      I don’t think Joe Golfer looks at the fine print on the wedge, or if he does, makes the connection between “Cleveland Golf” and Roger Cleveland. I think Joe Golfer looks at Cleveland Golf or Callaway Golf. It’s obvious they are not the same Company.

  8. Ian

    Oct 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    To the Cleveland basher….. You do realize Cleveland golf is owened by Sumitomo Rubber and has deeper pockets than Cally or TM. They will be around as long as Sumitomo wants Srixon/Cleveland to be around.

    • Setter02

      Nov 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Get rid of Cleveland and get more Srixon available in N/A then…

  9. GMatt

    Oct 31, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Does anybody really buy anything Cleveland anymore? Talk about a frivolous lawsuit by an irrelevant company….can you say “buy Cleveland products at Walmart?”

    • K

      Nov 1, 2013 at 2:31 am

      They will never dip that low, they still own the best club companies in Japan. Like XXIO and Srixon.

      • ND Hickman

        Nov 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        I would argue that the best club company in Japan in Mizuno, but I freely admit to being very biased on that front.

    • paul

      Nov 1, 2013 at 9:04 am

      I was thinking of buying some of their wedges….

      • Sojourn

        Nov 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm

        Paul: I think most people in the business will agree that Cleveland still makes some of the best wedges out there.

  10. Setter02

    Oct 31, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Stupid lawsuit by a company that likely won’t be around in 10 years anyway. Has virtually no market share and is just trying to get some publicity as their equipment and staffers can’t do it vs. the marketing giants.

    Cally should put a social media spin on this and generate more exposure for themselves by releasing wedges with little catch phrases poking fun at CG. ‘made by the man’ or ‘made by that guy’ with a laser embossed face pic of Roger. I’d game them…

    • Chris Steele

      Oct 31, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Great marketing idea but a PR Nightmare!!! no good has ever come from taking jabs at another company

    • GR8GLFR

      Oct 31, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Um… you do realize that Cleveland still owns the largest market share in the wedge category, right? I’ve managed 2 golf retail stores in the past 6 years. Despite great wedge offerings by Titleist, PING & Callaway.. the Cleveland brand still owns about 30% of the retail market. Which may not sound like much, but it is.

  11. Shallowface

    Oct 31, 2013 at 6:38 am

    The city of Cleveland should sue Cleveland Golf because when I Google Cleveland Golf looking for golf courses I get ads for golf clubs I don’t want.

    Of course, when I say Cleveland, I mean Cleveland Tennessee.

    Anybody who cares about who designed their wedge (and yes there are a lot of us who do) know where Roger Cleveland works these days.

    This is the definition of a frivolous lawsuit.

  12. Roger

    Oct 31, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Compensation will be awarded to Cleveland Golf at a rate of $588
    per day that the Naming Infringement continues.
    Lawyers will be Lobbing evidence back and forth…….
    much PR Spin will be created and the Jury will feel a Wedge or great divide over the Gaps in the evidence…..
    No Golf Company will have bought the “”Name”” without enduring
    exclusive right to use of That Name…hope im right!!
    Hope there’s a Fair Way to settle it!

    • Scott

      Nov 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Clever post on Halloween Roger….I am sure you had Skulls on your front yard as you offered Chili Dip to the Mack Daddy’s while the kids Bounced from Hazard to Hazard. When I hit a shot Fat….and I rarely do…I make it after too many Dos Equis. Kudo’s to the funny post!! PGA Quarter Century Member and I love the new wedges..

  13. Matthew Carter

    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:24 am

    If RG sold all rights to CG, Callaway shouldn’t be able to use RG name etc….

  14. Christopher

    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:16 am

    It would be hilarious if Callaway removed Roger’s name from the wedges then moved their factory to Cleveland. Then they could stamp Made In Cleveland on their clubs.

    Considering Cleveland Golf started out making replicas of other classic golf clubs of the 1940-50s this is quite amusing.

    • Jack

      Oct 31, 2013 at 9:13 am

      LOL

    • Double Mocha Man

      Nov 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Why would anyone move from California to Cleveland?!

      • Blopar

        Nov 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        I live in Cleveland and I’m leaving. Roger can move here in my place.

  15. The Vog

    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I bet Cleveland loses. I am not an attorney, but I would bet there is no law or contractual issue that would prevent Callaway using Rogers’s actual name.

    • M

      Oct 31, 2013 at 1:31 am

      You know nothing, so you should shut up.

      • K

        Nov 1, 2013 at 2:24 am

        I bet you’re part of Cleveland 😉

        • Forsbrand

          Nov 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm

          Is there a place called CALLAWAY in Florida? Callaway golf wedges designed by Roger CLEVELAND, made in CHINA…………

      • Pablo

        Nov 7, 2013 at 1:45 am

        Play nice M, or else no dessert tonight! =P

    • johnny

      Oct 31, 2013 at 9:42 am

      I bet you Cleveland wins this as it is contradicting the Cleveland golf name with callaway

    • Tiger1016

      Oct 31, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      To start, my preference on aesthetics would be for this wedge to not have the Roger Cleveland stamping on it to begin with because I like a cleaner look. Nevertheless, after spending two minutes glancing through the motion that was filed, it looks like Cleveland / Dunlop Sports is going to have to pay much better attention to detail on some blatantly obvious and important facts in the case if they want to have any chance of success. They misname and even misspell the wedge claiming it is named the “Roger Cleveland Mac Daddy 2” when it is simply the “Mack Daddy 2” wedge and I guess could technically fully be described as the “Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedge Designed by Roger Cleveland”.

    • J C

      Nov 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      taxes

      • J C

        Nov 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        this got put in wrong spot and cant find way to remove it 🙁

    • chowchow

      Nov 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      You will loose that bet. You may want to check out the Phil Mickelson Putter that Callaway tried doing a couple years ago. Phil’s name was taken off the putter. Tiltiest said no way.. Titleist has the right to fat phils name on golf clubs.

  16. Chris

    Oct 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    What a fascinating legal case

  17. Jud

    Oct 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Adam Taylormade should start creating drivers for Nike. It could read, “Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Driver created by Adam Taylormade”. Now to find a guy with the last name Taylormade…

    • M

      Oct 31, 2013 at 1:32 am

      And you’re an eejit

      • neil

        Oct 31, 2013 at 7:50 am

        wow havent heard that since i lived at home!

        Scottish?

    • GMatt

      Oct 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

      And it can be 17 yards longer or Covertier

    • chowchow

      Nov 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      you do know that TaylorMade rescued Adams from going out of business. Adams’ CEO went over to Callaway is now taking Callaway into a deeper HOLE.. Look for Bridgestone Golf to make a hostile take over for Callaway. Callaway has been on the verge of going chapter(pick a #) bankruptcy years. I own a golf shop and Callaway is by frthe worst of the OEM’s to deal with. Wrong stuff all the time. Next to impossible to get a RA to send it back. Callaway is getting their just rewards. LAWSUITS for being scumbags!!

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Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, qualified for the PGA Championship

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The top 20 professionals from the PGA Professional Championship–contested last weekend at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, California–are heading to the PGA Championship later this year.

Perhaps you saw Ryan Vermeer, at 5 under, was the medalist. What you may not have seen however, is something particularly cool for golf equipment geeks: Ping’s Director of Product Development, Marty Jertson, qualified–and he did so in spectacular fashion: the 37-year-old birdied the last three holes to finish T9.

Not bad for an engineer!

Also noteworthy: Ping confirmed Jertson played the company’s yet-to-be announced i500 irons in his 3, 4, and 5-irons, which will reportedly be available mid-summer. Yes, they confirmed that the rumors are true; Ping’s new iron will be called i500.

Related: We did a podcast with Jertson at the PGA Show, we also interviewed him back in 2017.

 

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Reddit AMA alert: Anthony Taranto, Callaway’s wedge art maestro, on his favorite designs, WITB

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If you’ve been around GolfWRX for any period of time, you’ve seen Anthony Taranto’s work. The Callaway wedge specialist is tasked with designing some of the coolest wedge decorations in the game.

Taranto did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and The Wedge Art Wizard (as he introduced himself) didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights (edited for spelling)

Remoolg asked: How did you start working at Callaway and get into this specific position?

AT: Back in 1999 Callaway had a job fair for their new golf ball plant Mr. Callaway was opening. I made it though many layoffs and reorganization. I was good at building clubs and I was placed in the pro tour department about 12 years ago. About 4 1/2 years ago I discovered this technique for sandblasting art onto wedges and now here we are.

Loudshorts asked: What’s the most odd art request you’ve put on a wedge and what’s the most common?

AT: Most odd: Probably Michelle Wie’s Harry Potter-themed wedges

I didn’t know anything about Harry Potter at the time so I had to do some research. Accio birdies!
Most common would just be old fashioned stamping of players initials.

Bunny said: Billy Idol, never pictured him as a golfer. What kind of design did he want on his clubs?

AT: He asked for his logo, which is this cool crown with a lightning bolt:

Iamrobert_paulson asked: What wedges are in your bag? Can we see pics?

AT: I’m gaming MD4’s: 45° (46 bent to 45), 50°, 55° (54 bent to 55), and 60°. Design wise: Skull & Crossbones and lots of stars.

Dr. Troutman asked: What is your favorite custom set you’ve ever done?

AT: Putting me on the spot! It might be these that I just recently made. Figured out how to evolve the sand blasting technique and start doing layers. Really happy with how these came out:

You can check out the full AMA here.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: McIlroy going back to 2010 swing? | Jacklin blasts USGA I Baba Booeyism

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Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

 

Good Friday morning, golf fans. The days only get shorter from here, so get out there and play some golf. And if you’re in the NYC area and looking for a fourth, well, consider dropping a line to the email above!
1. A bounceback for Spieth, McIlroy (who’s going back to 2010)
As you may have seen, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, both of whom missed the cut at the U.S. Open, started the Travelers Championship strong. Spieth was tied for the lead a 7 under, and McIlroy was a stroke back at the end of round one.
Most interestingly, however, is this tidbit from McIlroy (h/t Geoff Shackelford via a Reuters report)
  • “I’m trying to get back to the way I swung in 2010, 2011 and it’s sort of hard because my body’s changed quite a bit since then,” the 29-year-old, whose muscular frame now is a far cry from the scrawny teenager of days gone by, told reporters.
  • “The feeling I have now is the feeling I had in the middle of 2009…That’s basically what I did over the weekend. I got a feeling that really resonated and brought me back to a time when I was swinging really well, and sort of went with that feeling.”
2. Another assault on the USGA
This time, it’s Tony Jacklin taking the USGA to task (via bunkered)
  • “Shinnecock Hills has always been a great test over the years, but the USGA have messed it up again..This kind of thing seems to be becoming a habit for them, as the way the course was set-up on Saturday was just ludicrous. It seems like they end up with egg on their face every time and most of the players were disgusted.”
  • “If I’d have been playing and seen the course set-up the way it was, I would have been angry. It was madness. It wasn’t a fair test of golf and the element of luck played a big role in costing some people dearly.”
  • “The whole thing turned into a joke on Saturday and you just hate to see it at that level of the game with a major championship up for grabs. I’m sure the USGA will make their excuses but I just don’t understand it at all.”
3. Baba Booey for Life!
A contentious forum thread turned hot front page article is built around these remark from GolfWRX member Stickner.
  • “For those that think noise while a player hits shouldn’t be allowed, you must also believe that fans should NEVER make noise…A player with a large gallery jars a 70 footer for eagle to take the lead. The crowd erupts! This should not be allowed.
  • “Why you ask? There are other golfers well within earshot of the noise. This could disrupt their game. Why does the nearby player you can see deserve the “courtesy of quiet” but the one 400 yards away that you can’t see doesn’t?
  • “We have all seen players back off because the crowd erupted on another hole. What happens when that eruption happens in the backswing right before the player is about to transition to the downswing? Those boisterous hooligans need to keep their traps shut as this is a gentleman’s game right?
  • “Being quiet while someone plays golf is silly. My guess is that the elitist snobs that played this game a century ago needed a scapegoat when hitting a bad shot and noise became their scapegoat.”
4. Sympathy for the putt-raker?
Luke Kerr-Dineen writes that, while purists, traditionalists, and the media have raked Phil Mickelson over the coals, many average golfers have to sympathize with Lefty’s putt-raking.
  • “Well, isn’t that just a variation of something stupid we’ve all done. Snapped a club or thrown a club or taken your ball and marched home. As much as we love this silly game and all the beautiful moments within, it’s at times completely and utterly infuriating. Often you can laugh it off. Sometimes it drives you a bit mad.”
  • “In light of Mickelson’s apology, it seems more and more like he simply momentarily snapped. In that, it was an act so many people can relate to on a human level. It’s why, when most fans look back on this in the future, it won’t be with disdain. It’ll be with a grin and a shake of the head. We’ve all been there, and we know how it feels. And so does Phil.”
5. Pro golf as a team sport
Ed Myers looks at the supporting casts around top players and asks the chicken vs. egg question.
  • “Do a little research on the top PGA Tour players, and what you’ll see is that most (if not all of them) employ a team of diverse professionals that support their efforts to perform on the golf course. Take two-time major champion Zach Johnson; he has a team that includes a caddie, a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, an agent, a statistician, a spiritual mentor, a financial adviser… and of course his wife.”
  • “I know this seems like a lot, and maybe even too much,” Johnson readily admitted. “But each individual has their place. Each place is different in its role and capacity. In order for me to practice, work out and just play golf, I need these individuals along the way. There is a freedom that comes with having such a great group that allows me to just play.”
6. Why don’t you just get on Twitter then?
But really, Michael Bamberger’s occasional roundup of the things he’d have tweeted had he been on Twitter is good stuff.
Here are a couple
  • “Amy had it exactly correct on Father’s Day: Phil had a bad day in the office. Too bad he didn’t acknowledge that after playing on Saturday.”
  • “I miss the old stern USGA. Mike Davis is a truly knowledgeable and caring golf person. He had nothing to apologize for Saturday night. Courses change with the wind, literally and figuratively.”

More of ’em.

7. The curse of Shinnecock Hills
Bruce Buschel of the East Hampton Star files a piece from perspective of, you now, the tribe whose name, likeness, and land the U.S. Open featured.
A taste…
  • “The golf course logo is a different matter. It’s insulting – it’s a cartoon Indian with a big hook nose wearing a war bonnet festooned with an arrow and a putter. Like a kindergarten coloring book circa 1955. So the tribe requested a redesign or a flat-out removal. They got neither. Shinnecocks don’t have much luck when negotiating with the white man, not here, there, or anywhere.”
  • “Many Shinnecock do not appreciate being called Native Americans. They were here long before America was discovered by Leif Erikson, by Christopher Columbus, and by Amerigo Vespucci. First Nation would be more accurate. Indigenous people would suffice. Even Indian is preferable to Native American.”
  • “The Shinnecocks take no glee in the public disasters that have befallen Shinnecock Hills since the tribe was excommunicated, since the indigenous people were removed as caretakers of their own land….No one talks about karma. And no one talks about the Curse of Shinnecock Hills…Someone should.”
8. Well…
If curiosity is getting the better of you, a few shots from Greg Norman’s spread in ESPN’s upcoming body issue are circulating.
9. ESPY voting
Speaking of the Worldwide Leader, ESPN has announced the candidates for best male and female golfer–to be revealed at the July 18 awards show.
And the nominees are…
  • Male...Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed
  • Female...Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung-Hyun Park
You can vote here and here.
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