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Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Judge overturns verdict in Hallmark case

February 27, 2004

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— A federal judge has overturned a jury's $8.9 million damage award in a patent infringement suit against Hallmark Cards Inc. involving a machine that curls ribbons.

In September, the jury found that Hallmark infringed patents belonging to a British company, Group One, and its owner, Fredric Goldstein. The jury also found the Kansas City, Mo.-based card maker acted willfully, which could have tripled the damages in the case.

But in an order signed last week, U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple said the jury should have found in Hallmark's favor because the patents in question were invalid and never should have been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"We think the order speaks for itself," Hallmark spokeswoman Julie O'Dell said. "Hallmark felt all along that the original issues were unfounded."

Group One and Goldstein said Hallmark stole ideas for two machines he patented that created curled, cascading ribbon to decorate gift packages.

Attorneys for Goldstein said they planned to file an appeal.

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