TaylorMade Sues Costco Over Kirkland Signature Golf Clubs

This might affect the market

TaylorMade Costco Lawsuit Resell Prices

By RC Staff

Key Points

  • TaylorMade alleges Costco ripped off their P790 clubs

  • Reviewers frequently pointed out similarities between the designs

  • TaylorMade has listed five different patents, and quoted Reddit comments in their suit

After making waves in the golf community for their new set of inexpensive irons, Costco is being taken to court for patent infringement. TaylorMade is alleging the new Kirkland Signature irons are a ripoff of their P790 design that retails for double what Costco charges. We first covered these clubs back in January when they were reselling, and this new development may have a significant impact on the market.

Costco Kirkland Signature Iron Set

So first, let’s back up a little and clarify what’s going on. Last December, Costco started rolling out a new set of irons. Costco actually produces a lot of golf equipment that’s very well reviewed, and these irons seemed like a logical next step.

You can read our article here for more details, but one thing many reviewers picked up on was the irons’ similarity to TaylorMade’s P790 clubs.

Visually, the clubs have a nearly identical silhouette. They also share a similar construction, using a metal exterior shell and club face which is filled with a polymer material.

TaylorMade Costco Lawsuit Club Comparison

The club on the left is Taylormade’s, Costco’s is on the right

Reviews for the Kirkland Signature irons pretty much universally focused on their similarity to TaylorMade’s design, and they were often tested against each other. The P790s would usually come out on top, but Costco’s clubs still performed competitively.

The price difference is the real compelling factor. While you could expect to drop up to or over a grand on a set of TaylorMade’s clubs, Costco charged just $500 for their irons.

For a golfer on a budget or looking to buy their first set, this is huge, and the main reason Costco’s clubs got so much traction online. Within a few days of their release Costco had sold out all of their new Kirkland Signature irons. Ironically, resellers were flipping the clubs for close to TaylorMade prices thanks to the hype.

TaylorMade Costco Lawsuit

It seems like TaylorMade was well aware of the situation, and filed a lawsuit against Costco and Southern California Design Company (Indi Golf), the company behind the designs. You can read their complaint here.

TaylorMade alleges that “Costco has sold and offered to sell infringing products”, “SCDC designs and manufactures the infringing products on behalf of Costco and sells the infringing products to Costco”.

They have listed five different patents, all of them for club head designs, as being infringed upon. TaylorMade even quotes some of the marketing copy used for Costco’s Kirkland Signature clubs as evidence of patent infringement.

Perhaps most damningly, TaylorMade asserts that one of the designers for Costco’s irons was formerly employed at TaylorMade’s headquarters, and may have been involved in the development of the P790.

The suit also accuses Costco of false advertisement , specifically calling out Costco’s claim that the Kirkland Signature clubs use an injected urethane insert as “literally false”.

If you read through the complaint, you’ll find that TaylorMade is actually directly quoting Reddit comments to use as evidence of damages against the company.

TaylorMade Costco Lawsuit Reddit Comment

This is taken directly from TaylorMade’s complaint

Be careful what you say on the Internet, kids. Your words might end up in a lawsuit.

When we first covered the Kirkland Signature iron set in January, it was extremely popular. Resellers were and still are making decent profits by flipping them along with Costco’s new driver for over retail.

This lawsuit will likely take them off the market for a significant amount of time. Depending on how things go they may end up never restocking again, and could even become collectable artifacts of this period in golf history.

If you happened to buy a set and are still holding onto them, keep holding. There’s no telling what will happen next.

We’ll keep our eyes on this lawsuit in the future, and we recommend you do the same. It does seem TaylorMade has a legitimate case for damages here, and we’re curious to see how Costco will respond.

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