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TaylorMade accuses Costco of stealing its golf club patents

The golf equipment manufacture claims Costco used a former TaylorMade engineer to develop clubs that are identical to its P790 irons.

Exterior of Costco store.
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Golf equipment manufacturer TaylorMade has filed a lawsuit against Costco over claims the warehouse chain violated a patent on a set of golf clubs. 

TaylorMade says that Costco's Kirkland Signature 7-piece Players Iron Set began selling in 2023 and are nearly identical to its P790 irons. The lawsuit alleges that Costco used a former TaylorMade engineer to help develop the Kirkland Signatures clubs. 

The suit also alleges that the Kirkland Signature clubs have five features that TaylorMade patented for its P790 clubs. TaylorMade released the clubs in 2017.

"The P790 irons incorporated a host of technologies that aided golf players in improving distance, feel, forgiveness, and playability," TaylorMade said in its lawsuit. "These technologies included a body comprised of specifically chosen alloys and shaped to distribute weight; an internal cavity filled with a proprietary SpeedFoam polymer; and tungsten weights to further optimize the weight distribution. Each of these features were innovative and designed to help golfers improve their distance, consistency, and accuracy."

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One major difference between the products is their cost. Costco lists its set of clubs for $499, while a similar set goes for $1,399 on TaylorMade's website. Both sets include seven clubs, including irons 4-9 and a pitching wedge. 

The lawsuit says that Indi Golf produced the Kirkland Signature clubs, which was manufactured by the Southern California Design Company. Scripps News has contacted Costco and Southern California Design Company for their reaction to the lawsuit.