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Three Arrested in North Carolina Golf Equipment Counterfeit Operation

Acushnet Company Cooperates with Authorities Investigating Illegal Products Being Sold On-line

Fairhaven, MA (December 11, 2007) – Two residents of Vass, North Carolina, were charged last week by North Carolina Secretary of State Trademark investigators following an investigation that state officials believe has uncovered a major product counterfeiting operation headquartered in Moore County.  Acushnet Company, which is comprised of the Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra golf equipment brands, played an integral part in the arrests by working with the North Carolina authorities.

“Acushnet vigorously protects our brands and our Company’s intellectual property” said Lisa Rogan, Acushnet Company trademark manager.  “We conduct daily monitoring of eBay and other auction sites, which often leads to criminal investigations.  We fully support the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office in this investigation.”  In this case, Acushnet observed counterfeit golf products in the market and conducted an internal investigation prior to presenting the matter to the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office. 

A two-month investigation by state and federal officers resulted in allegations that Donald G. Fondrie and Warren E. Fondrie operated an Internet-based site that sold fake brand-name golfing gear, with the counterfeit brand name products being imported from Asia, and then being sold both domestically and internationally on a “store site” on eBay, the large on-line auction company.  Postal authorities monitored shipping traffic connected to the case for some time prior to the search.

Thousands of fake golf products were seized, including counterfeit Titleist, Cobra and Scotty Cameron products.  In addition, other alleged counterfeit products were seized, including fake Golf Pride® golf grips and goods bearing the trademarks of Cleveland Golf, Nike, PING, Callaway Golf and TaylorMade Golf. 

Both men were charged with two felony counts of possessing counterfeit trademarked goods with intent to sell the counterfeit goods.  They were also charged with resisting a public officer as was a third person, Pei-I Chou, a Taiwanese national who was present at the time of the search and seizure operation conducted by Secretary of State investigators and U.S. Postal Service inspectors. 

Contact: Joe Gomes, Director of Communications
Acushnet Company: 508.979.3211

Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra comprise the major golf brands of the Acushnet Company, an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE - FO).  Titleist, Cobra and FootJoy are trademarks owned by Acushnet Company.  All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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