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Acushnet Company Assistance Results in Second Guilty Plea

Fairhaven, MA (September 29, 2009) - For the second time in less than a week, Acushnet Company, which is comprised of the Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra brands, has played an integral role in shutting down an online seller of Titleist counterfeit products. Gareth Lee, of Portsmouth, England, was sentenced by the Portsmouth Crown Court to 2 ½ years in prison for his role in the sale of counterfeit products. Lee also was ordered to pay £105,000 within six months. If he fails to repay the money within the allotted time, the court has ordered an additional three years of jail time.

“We are very satisfied with the outcome of this case,” said Clive Harrison, Brand Protection Officer, Acushnet Europe. “The sentence handed to Mr. Lee should serve as a deterrent to any other persons tempted to sell counterfeit products. We have been working with the Hampshire Trading Standards office since the beginning of this case and would like to extend our thanks to them for bringing it to a successful conclusion.”

In the Lee case, Acushnet observed the availability of fake towels, headcovers and headwear bearing counterfeit Titleist trademarks on eBay, a popular online auction site. After an internal investigation, Acushnet officials reported the seller to the Hampshire Trading Standards office in Portsmouth, which carried the investigation further, leading to Lee’s arrest and ultimate conviction.

“We are pleased to cooperate with governmental authorities to protect our consumers and account partners,” said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Company. “This case once again demonstrates the long-term commitment Acushnet has made to protect its brand online and assure its customers of the quality and integrity of the product offered for sale.”

Last week, Gary Bellchambers, plead guilty to conspiracy and countering in a London court, and is awaiting sentencing. Two of Bellchambers’ co-conspirators, Keith Thomas and Chris Moughton, also admitted guilt, while six other defendants are currently on trial in Snaresbrook Crown Court in London. According to an eBay official, the Bellchambers case is one of the largest counterfeit products conspiracies discovered on their website, with more than a million pounds of merchandise believed to be involved.  

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.  For more information, contact Joe Gomes, Director of Communications (508.979.3211).

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