The Historical Significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin

On January 17, 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin. Historically, the court has often strayed from sports-related disputes, although there are some landmark cases which were exceptions and shaped the national landscape of sports. However, the dispute in Martin spanned greatly beyond a mere sports-related dispute. The issue was simple: does using a golf cart fundamentally alter a tournament? However, the larger legal question was whether the American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) supersedes the rules of…
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Stephen Curry’s “Holey Moley” Faces Trademark Complaint in California Court

Fun Lab IP Co. Pty. Ltd. filed a trademark complaint in California federal court against Los Angeles-based Eureka Productions, claiming that the title of Eureka’s upcoming ABC game-show, Holey Moley, infringes on a popular Australian mini-golf chain of the same name. The show, which is hosted by two-time NBA Finals MVP and executive producer, Stephen Curry, and is advertised as a competitive mini-golf competition, will involve head-to-head matches between 12 contestants. Each episode, contestants will compete for a $25,000 prize on what an
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TaylorMade Takes Case to Patent Trial and Appeal Board

On August 30, 2018, the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) agreed to hear two challenges by TaylorMade Golf Company, Inc. (TaylorMade) against its fellow golf manufacture rival, Parsons Xtreme Golf LLC (Xtreme). The patents in question, US Patent No. 9,199,143 and US Patent No. 8,961,336 were previously filed by Xtreme and have remained a source of contention between the two companies for over a year. Back in September 2017, Xtreme accused TaylorMade of selling golf clubs that infringed multiple of Xtreme’s patents,…
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Vijay Singh Moving Closer to Trial on Opposition of Doping Suspension

In September 2017, the Sports and Entertainment Law Insider reported that Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour was heading for trial. That conclusion became clearer as a
New York appellate court affirmed a decision to deny the PGA Tour’s motion for summary judgment on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Singh was suspended by the PGA in 2013 for allegedly violating the tour’s anti-doping policy. Believing he was abiding by all rules, Singh discussed using deer-antler spray to aid pain in a Sports Illustrated article. Singh…
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USGA Reaches Agreement with Shinnecock Indian Nation Ahead of U.S. Open

The United States Golf Association (USGA) will host the 2018 United States Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York on June 14-17. This will be the fifth time the national championship is held at Shinnecock, and the first time since 2004. The second ever U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock in 1896, which marked the start of a long standing relationship between the USGA and the Shinnecock Indian Nation. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was constructed on land once owned by the Shinnecock…
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UPDATE: Former Professional Golfer Sued

On January 24, 2018, drink and dietary supplement company, Organo Gold International Inc., sued 62-year-old former professional golfer Greg Norman, Aussie Rules Marine Services, Ltd., and ABG-Shark, LLC, in Washington federal court. Norman controls Aussie, a foreign company organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Also, Norman has an existing partnership with ABG. Back in March of 2017, Norman partnered with, and gave, ABG the right to control “the direction of the consumer products division of The Greg Norman Company.” In their…
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Dispute Over the Trademark “Green Jacket” Continues

On January 10, 2018, Green Jacket Auctions filed suit in Georgia federal court and back on January 2, 2018, Green Jacket Auctions filed an identical suit in Florida federal court. Both suits seek to prevent the transfer of the domain name “greenjacketauctions.com” from Green Jacket Auctions to Augusta National, Inc., host of the annual Masters Golf Tournament. Green Jacket Auctions is an online golf memorabilia auctioneer and appraiser. The company was formed in 2006 by its two, and only employees, Ryan Carey and Bob Zafian.…
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Golf Caddies Ask for Mulligan in Suit Over PGA Tour Bib-Ads

On October 12, 2017, golf caddies urged the Ninth Circuit to revive their proposed antitrust class action against PGA Tour Inc. for allegedly exploiting them as walking advertisements. The golf caddies claimed the lower court erred by using evidence outside of their complaint to interpret the contracts and that they had no chance to respond to the court’s arguments. In their original lawsuit filed by over 80 caddies in February 2015, the caddies alleged that PGA Tour earns $50 million a year from a policy…
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A Jury Will Decide Whether Pro Golfer Vijay Singh’s Case Against PGA Tour is a “Hole in One”

A New York state judge decided on Wednesday , August 30, 2017, that Vijay Singh’s four-year-old lawsuit against the PGA Tour, Inc. will be decided by a jury. Singh’s lawsuit centers on his temporary suspension by the PGA Tour for using “illicit” deer antler spray as a performance enhancing drug. The suspension was later dropped after the World Anti-Doping Agency said the spray was not banned. Singh admitted to using deer antler spray in a Sports Illustrated interview to help him treat knee and back…
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Out of Bounds: Court Rules Against Golf Tailor’s Counterclaims in IP Dispute

In February, GolfBestBuy filed suit in California’s Federal Courts against Golf Tailor, accusing Golf Tailor of purchasing their clubs through authorized reseller Golf Gifts and Gallery Inc., and then, after gauging customer interest, going to a Chinese manufacturer to produce counterfeits. Counterfeit goods from China continue to hinder U.S. markets, and cost U.S. businesses billions a year in lost profits. According to the suit, Golf Tailor bought more than 100,000 clubs from GGG at a unit price of $17 apiece and then sold the clubs…
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