Update 9/17 at 5 p.m.

On Friday, Judge John J. Tuchi denied PXG’s request for a TRO (temporary restraining order) against TaylorMade P-790 irons. A TaylorMade representative released the following statement on behalf of the company:

“While TaylorMade respects the intellectual property rights of others, we will always defend ourselves vigorously when someone falsely accuses us of infringement. Our victory in court today re-affirms our confidence in our products and technologies, and reinforces the excitement and momentum we are experiencing with our P790 irons to date.

“P790 is a TaylorMade owned, game-changing product that delivers superior performance benefits to golfers through its key innovations.  When you have an iron like P790 that also has Tour player adoption and golfers of all skill levels testing, experiencing distance gains and placing orders, others have no choice but to attempt to slow down our momentum. We fully anticipate a strong reception at retail this weekend and are already increasing our forecast to accommodate greater than anticipated demand.”

A hearing on PXG’s appeal for a preliminary injunction against TaylorMade is set for November 14.

——

PXG Founder Bob Parsons said in a Tweet that he’s sued TaylorMade for patent infringement related to its new P-790 irons.

TaylorMade’s P-790 irons are due in stores on September 15 in the U.S. They use a hollow construction that’s filled with a material TaylorMade calls “SpeedFoam.” It supports the thin, forged clubs faces used in the irons the help improve distance and accuracy. The material also helps quiet vibrations to improve the sound and feel of the irons.

TaylorMade_P790_Feat-1021x580

Tech Story: Learn more about TaylorMade’s P-790 irons 

PXG’s 0311 iron series also uses a hollow-body construction. The forged club heads are filled with a TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) material that serves the same purpose as TaylorMade’s SpeedFoam.

To get a handle on the lawsuit, we spoke to Rob Van Arnam and Mike Sajovec, two patent attorneys from the law firm Williams Mullen. They explained that, in sum, PXG is claiming that its design for a better-performing iron is accomplished by the clubs having an expanded sweet spot, an ultra-thin club face, and an elastic material injected into the hollow-bodied club head. The claims of PXG’s patents are generally alleged to cover any golf club that includes a hollow portion filled with an elastomeric polymer, a first weight portion at a “top-and-toe transition region”, and a second weight portion located below a horizontal midplane of the golf club head with the first weight portion having a mass less than the second portion.

Thus, in layman’s terms, the patents attempt to cover the PXG club head with a polymer/rubber insert with the four weights near the toe and the seven weights on the back face of the club head closer to the sole of the club head. The eight patents asserted by PXG are related and are part of PXG’s portfolio of patents.

PXG-Irons

Related: What makes PXG irons and wedges so different?

We also asked them why they thought this case was filed.

“It is not surprising that PXG filed suit to protect its technology and PXG irons, as they appear to be the lifeblood of Bob Parson’s company,” Van Arnam said. “PXG will likely portray itself as an innovator and that TaylorMade is merely trading off PXG’s technology and success.”

We asked about the defenses TaylorMade will raise.  

“TaylorMade will likely counter that golf club heads for years have had hollow cavities with polymers or foams and have come with weights,” Sajovec said. “Thus, nothing that PXG is doing is new; it only looks better. TaylorMade will also focus on the different design of its weights, while PXG will allege that because TaylorMade utilizes two sets of weight, those weights are equivalent to the weights in the PXG patents claims. TaylorMade will counter that although PXG patents may be valid, the claims do not cover the TaylorMade design, particularly the placement of the weights.”

So what will happen first, how will the case proceed, and how long will it last?  

“PXG has already asked for a TRO (temporary restraining order) and a preliminary injunction to stop TaylorMade from making and selling its P-790 clubs while the case is pending,” Van Arnam said. “So there will be an intense few months to decide that motion. Because of the extraordinary relief injunctions offer, that may be an uphill battle. At the same time, we would expect TaylorMade will seek to stay the case and to challenge it with an Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceeding in the patent office, seeking a reexamination and invalidation of the patents.”

Sajovec added that IPRs are a common litigation challenge in patent cases and that “a quick look at the prosecution history of several of the PXG patents gives the impression that the patent examiner may not have fully appreciated the prior art cited during prosecution.”

“As a result of those actions and barring any early resolution, the case could last for 2-3 years or more,” Van Arnam said. 

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  1. TM P-790 and PXG 0311 fake forged scam exposed on GolfWRX!
    Only the thin face plate is nominally ‘forged’ while the rest of the club body is cast SS.
    The two pieces are welded together to form the hollow cavity filled with foam or gel.
    They’re like 90% cast steel body and 10% forged plate. Wotta scam and the gearheads just lap it up without complaining.

      • Both clubs have the word “forged” stamped on them which would lead you to believe they are 100% forged. Cast SS is cheap and the thin so-called ‘forged’ face plate is cheap too.
        So why the high prices for these cheap to manufacture clubs? It’s a scam.

  2. This is ridiculous absolutely ridiculous. This is not new technology in any way shape or form and actually I believe it was Tailor-Made in the 90s with their Burner series that first came out with cavity clubs that were foam filled this is… just childishness.

  3. Patent trolls might have a field day with this. Nickent had the ARC blades about a decade ago and were filled with elastomer. If they had a patent, the material used might not have been limited to just elastomer. Yonex had their a blade irons filled as well… Should be an interesting few years of suits and counter suits.

  4. If TM has prior art work, or has produced a club similar prior to the PXG patent, they are good to go. Public disclosure trumps a patent. In other words if you patent something that has already been done, your patent is useless.

  5. TM probably knew that this was going to happen when they first started working on the 790s on the drawing board. I’m sure that their legal beagles did the due diligence before the release and know that PXG hasn’t a chance in hell to sue them.

  6. ”The GolfWRX forums exist so golfers have access to the latest equipment releases, hottest discussions, real equipment reviews, best instruction, new technologies, and everything golf you can imagine. So if you love golf, the GolfWRX forums are your sanctuary.”
    ———————
    Okay, now tell us if the TM P-790 and PXG 0311 irons are FULLY forged, or are they only face-plate forged and the rest of the body is a SS casting with the parts welded together.

  7. End of the day, how it will play out is that TM has the attorneys on payroll and can tie it up in litigation so long that BOTH companies will have moved on to the new “bigger and better” (or should I say “longer and more forgey feeling”) thing three times before PXG decides they can’t afford to pursue it further. Another possible outcome is that TM pays PXG enough to get them to STFU and drop the suit.
    Either way you look at it, and if you are a fan of either, both or none of those companies, this should generate enough butt hurt on the forums to keep those of us who really don’t give a damn some entertainment watching folks self-destruct over it. Still better entertainment than the left vs right political vomit that’s been polluting the forums and social media recently.

  8. Taylormade getting sued? Again? That’s why they bought out Adams. Hmmm slot technology. Then again, if we’re going for Style points I would imagine Mizuno and Titleist would have a beef against both these companies.

  9. I suspect TM and PXG have colluded with these publicity law suits to suck in the geerhead market to look at their clubs and create a desire to choose sides and form TM and PXG teams …. at exorbitant prices to join the teams and own cheap cast steel clubs with a thin ‘forged’ face-plate. Ya think?!!

  10. I can’t see how they have a case, hollow irons have been around before and most will have had some hot melt put in at some stage. Foam is very different to a thermoplastic material.

    They all copy each other anyway.

  11. TM will be fine. Parsons is about to get a very expensive lesson – just b/c you get a patent doesn’t mean you have an enforceable patent.

    Who wins? TM and PXG ATTORNEYS

  12. At the end of the where does it all end , most big brands , drivers have the same adjustable weights and shafts, and the other is people’s preferences and budget, PXG over $3000 for just a set of irons, so which clown at PXG can possibly be thinking about the market of golfer they are making for, at least taylormade, who is now probably the biggest supporter of golf, with products that a real golfer can afford, PXG want to tread lightly after alot of there staff are ex PING employees, PING might be next to sue PXG for copyrights?

  13. For TM:
    “…“SpeedFoam.” It supports the thin, forged clubs faces used in the (P-790) irons…”
    And for PXG:
    “…The forged (0311) club heads are filled with a TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) material…”
    ————–
    Thank you GolfWRX Staff for admitting that the PXG is fully forged and the TM is only face-forged ….. or is it?

    • How would you forge a hollow club head? I thought forging was a stamping process from a solid piece of metal and cast was poured melted metal. Not sure how you could stamp a heated metal ingot into a hollow body. My bet is neither are really a forged club.

      • I suspect only the face-plates are forged and the rest of the club is cast SS with the forged face welded to the cast body.
        So where does the ‘forged feel’ come from; only from the face-plate or the entire body and in particular the hosel which transmits the impact feel to the shaft?
        I recall a blind test done with forged and cast steel clubs and most of the regular golfers couldn’t tell the difference on center hits. Perhaps forged heads help muffle the off-center hit shock.
        And perhaps the ‘feel’ difference only emerges in high speed pro swings where the forged hosel changes the feel sensation.
        Perhaps the myth of ‘forged’ is being exploited by TM and PXG…. and the gullible geerheads just imagine the feel differences. Of course OEMs can charge outlandish prices for clubs with fake forged lettering on the body.
        Perhaps it’s all a scam……….

  14. A couple of comments on the patent and legal issue, not the technology itself:

    (1) Since I started out as an engineer in 1962, the patent process has changed enormously. In order to handle the huge crush of applications in more recent years, as well as speed the issuance of a patent, the examiner does a lot less critical examination of the application. They (rightly IMHO) issue patents too easily, and let litigation decide which are important enough to investigate in detail. So the IPR request from TaylorMade is entirely appropriate, and it may invalidate the hollow, foam-filled part of PXG’s claim. And TM was doing screw weights and placement before almost anybody, IIRC. So only the specific configuration of PXG’s screws is likely to be patentable. I imagine that is not infringed by TM.

    (2) The really critical thing is not whether the patent is deemed valid or not; it is the injunction. The suit itself will take years to get to a decision. By then both companies will have different products and the decision will be moot. So the big thing commercially is whether or not the court will let TM sell their product while we wait for an answer. Yes? TM won, period. No? PXG won, period. The outcome of the trial itself doesn’t really matter.

  15. This takes it back to the Macgregor hollow back V foil irons and the old Wilson Staff Relex irons of many years ago. Heck tell us some Mfgs that have copied from a previous design !!!

    • The Wilson Reflex iron is a great example of the slot in the sole technology. I’m not sure how Wilson can’t claim the technology – they had it in the late 1970’s. Has the patent expired?

      • Design patents last 14 years in the US.

        Any patent PXG holds would have to be very specific to their design, since nothing they’re doing in general is new; forged. hollow, gunk-filled, weights…

        Bob Parsons clearly just has too much money and needs to find ways to spend it. A team of lawyers would drive 99% of the population into bankruptcy, but won’t even dent Bob’s ludicrous cash pile.

  16. Will TM counter-sue and ask for costs? Then PXG drops their suit and TM will withdraw claim for costs. Then there will an ad campaign between PXG 0311 and TM P-790 ….. and the winner will be …… BOTH … ( and the club owning golfers will lose because they fell for the scam).

  17. This is like saying as a club maker that I will be suing every other club maker because they have irons made of metal, same as I do. Silly and p.s., I bought a set of PXGs and ZERO feel off the face.

    • I have a set of 0311t’s and they perform as advertised. High quality irons that came with exactly the right lofts and lie angles as expected from a proper manufacturer (without every second club having tip weights, hey titleist). Taylormades I had before the 4 iron and 5 iron had the same loft. The only part advertised that you don’t agree with is the price. Should get a better job.

        • Tip weights put into the hollow part of the shaft at the bottom where the head is connected…they add head weight so that you can get the desirable swing weight. With shafts that taper in length (4 iron 38.5″, half inch increments down to 35.25″ in wedges), you have to have corrasponding head weights to match the shaft length to get the clubs at the same swing weight. So, an example (though not completely accurate) would be because 4 iron is 38.5″ in length, the head weight needs to be a few grams lighter than the 5 iron headweight, which will be put into a 38″ shaft. If they head weights aren’t right you need to compensate by tip weighting the shafts (or adding lead tape) to get the appropriate swing weight. It doesn’t really make any difference but some people say it’s a testament to the quality and attention to detail.

      • Every major OEM uses the tip weight system.
        I have pulled apart irons, hybrids, fairways, wedges, putters and drivers from all OEM,s and they all have some sort of tip weighting system.
        Because all clubheads, grips, shafts have tollerances up to 5-10 grams each then this practice is going to be the norm. If you have never pulled apart a golf club then you will never know.

        • Custom clubmakers will weight their heads and use the ones that get the right swingweight without added weights. They will also check lofts and lies, and adjust where necessary to get correct specs. That is the big adbantage of buying clubs from a custom clubmaker. They take the time to do it right.

    • I ACCIDENTLY HIT REPORT COMMENT INSTEAD OF REPLY, THAT WAS AN ACCIDENT!!!!!

      HAHAHAHA, well said Bishop. I saw and hit the demo 7 iron at DSG. The pics on here make them look quite a bit bigger and more driver iron-ish. Definitely a great shape and size, nowhere near as big as I as expecting. Felt pretty good too, I preffered my AP2 for feel but could get used to them easily.

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