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Car Dealer Ordered to Stop Using Hallmark Name

April 11, 1986

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A federal judge has ordered a suburban Overland Park, Kan. car dealer to stop using the Hallmark name.

U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Stevens Jr. ruled Thursday that Hallmark Dodge Inc. was infringing on the trademark of Hallmark Cards Inc., the Kansas City-based greeting card giant.

Stevens ruled that John Wallace, president of the dealership, adopted the Hallmark name and a logo in similar script to that used by the greeting card company to ″evoke Hallmark Cards’ name and reputation in the minds of customers.″

Wallace said the ruling would be appealed.

″We don’t believe we are in violation of any federal or state laws,″ Wallace said. ‴Hallmark’ is in the dictionary and is a generic word, not a name.″

Wallace said he changed the name of the dealership when he took it over in 1981 because the firm had a bad reputation.

The dictionary defines the word hallmark as ″any mark or symbol of genuineness or high quality.″

A survey introduced as evidence in the three-day trial and cited by Stevens said 88 percent of the people surveyed thought of Hallmark Cards or something directly associated with Hallmark Cards when they were asked to respond to the word Hallmark. Only .05 percent thought of Hallmark Dodge.

Stevens ordered Hallmark Dodge to stop using the name within six months, pay court costs and fees for attorneys.

Hallmark Cards vice president Charles Hucker said the company was pleased with the ruling.

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