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Jury Awards $8.9M in Case Vs. Hallmark

September 17, 2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A machine that curls ribbons has wrapped Hallmark Cards Inc. in legal troubles.

A jury late Monday ordered the Kansas City-based company to pay $8.9 million in damages to a British company, Group One, for infringing on a patent for the machine that curls the ribbons. An adhesive backing is used to attach the curled ribbons to packages.

According to court records, Group One’s owner, Fredric Goldstein, contacted Hallmark in June 1991 to discuss a machine he had developed to make decorative curled ribbons.

During a telephone conference on Feb. 14, 1992, Goldstein discussed his machine with a Hallmark engineer and a meeting was scheduled for three days later. But Hallmark canceled the meeting, according to the court documents.

In July 1992, privately held Hallmark informed Goldstein it had designed its own machine to curl and shred ribbon. In early 1995, Hallmark began making the curled ribbons used to adorn packages.

Hallmark spokeswoman Linda Odell said the company was disappointed with the verdict. ``We’re going to take the appropriate steps to have it overturned,″ she said.

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