JOOLA Files Lawsuit Against USA Pickleball

USAP is the target of a lawsuit made by JOOLA, both organizations' logos are included against a backdrop of a pickleball match.

JOOLA has filed a lawsuit against USA Pickleball (USAP) to address the de-listing of their Gen 3 paddles from the USAP approved paddle list.

According to a press release, JOOLA filed the lawsuit on June 12, 2024 in the United States District Court for Maryland.

"We firmly believe our Gen3 paddles are compliant with all applicable published rules (as evidenced by their prior approval) and should not have been removed from the Approved Paddle List," the statement says.

"We are disappointed that we were forced to resort to legal measures, but after pursuing multiple avenues in attempts to reach a mutually acceptable resolution, we believe the filing of this suit was both warranted and necessary."

JOOLA says they will continue to prioritize the needs of their customers who have been impacted by the de-listing. The company have offered refunds for paddles affected by the decision.


    Recap of Events Leading to JOOLA Lawsuit

    Pickleball equipment has come a long way in a short time, particularly paddle technology. There's bound to be a few hiccups when it comes to setting limits on that tech, right?

    ...Except it's difficult for players who purchase premium pickleball paddles worth hundreds of dollars apiece to dismiss these "hiccups" when they're prevented from using their new investments in tournaments and, in some cases, even within recreational circles.

    Within the last month and a half, a few shakeups pertaining to pickleball paddle standards occurred that prompted conversations across the pickleball community:

    A new organization, UPA of America (UPA-A), operated by the same organization which now owns the PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball, announced itself as a new, “proactive governing body” for pickleball which aims “to protect, grow and champion the sport of pickleball globally.”

      Meanwhile, USA Pickleball, the first governing body of the sport in the USA founded in 1984, obviously did not sanction this competitor organization.

      Then, USAP de-listed the JOOLA Gen 3 line from the approved paddle list.

      For weeks, the community - particularly those who purchased one of the de-listed paddles - wondered if USAP would stick to their decision to de-list them. 

      Not only did they announce they would, but it's come to light that other paddle companies have been notified that some of their models were on the chopping block for de-listing as well:

      • Vatic Pro's Oni 
      • Ronbus' Ripple (not even released yet, now it won't be)

      It's worth noting these company's responses to the de-listing seemed tonally respectful, even if some of them call into question the legitimacy of USAP's standard-setting.

      JOOLA seemed the most willing to litigate over the decision despite their careful statement:

      "While we are confident the current Gen3 paddles are materially and structurally the same as those approved by USAP in September 2023 and therefore comply with USAP standards, we care deeply about our customers and the inconvenience and confusion the USAP decision has caused...We plan to dispute USAP’s decision to remove Gen3 paddles from the list, and the process employed to do so, in forthcoming legal proceedings." - JOOLA update from early June.

      Response from USA Pickleball Pre-Lawsuit

      Naturally, the pickleball community posed lots of questions about the USAP decision: 

      • What went into the decision behind de-listing these specific paddles?
      • Which technical guidelines did they infringe on?
      • Why is it that these paddles are banned when other paddles which utilize similar technology are not?
      • Does this sudden slew of paddle de-listings have anything to do with the recent formation of a competing governing body, which aims to make safety-related decisions about paddle technology?

      We asked USA Pickleball for a comment to try to clear up some of the confusion. Here's what they told us:

      "USA Pickleball has and will continue to test, through an independent and accredited third party lab, equipment submitted by manufacturers for certification.

      "Scrutiny of potentially non-compliant equipment may be triggered for different reasons, such as market inputs, firsthand evaluation, or potential risk factors relevant to certification specifications.

      "Development of the PBCoR test (Pickleball Coefficient of Restitution) has been in earnest since late December, and the use of that test to SCREEN potential candidates for further testing, teardown, etc. to identify materials and configurations of concern, correctness of attestation, etc. was initiated in April.

      "Outcomes of that screening and testing identified issues with several manufacturers in terms of those concerns.

      "There is no correlation in timing to the announcement of intent by another party to provide governance to the sport. Initial communications with manufacturers of concern related to the above commenced in mid-April."


      Parts of the statement above may be used in USAP's defense. We will continue to update this story as we learn more.

      Read Next: What To Do With Your Old or Broken Pickleball Paddle

      Where is Paddle Testing Headed?

      The Kitchen founders sat down recently, this time on opposite sides of the table, to discuss all of this paddle drama going on in pro pickleball.

      Jason Aspes, the new President of UPA, digs in to the decision to fine top player Andrei Daescu, and provides his perspective on the JOOLA GEN3 paddle delisting.

      Watch it here:


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