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Seasonal retailer North Pole City sues Hallmark

Updated: 2013-09-12T02:52:22Z

By STEVE ROSEN

The Kansas City Star

North Pole City, an Oklahoma City seasonal retailer, has sued Hallmark Cards Inc., alleging trademark infringement over the use of the firm’s name.

The retailer, which has been in business since the early 1990s selling decorations and Christmas items, has asked a federal judge in Oklahoma to order Hallmark to stop using the name.

It also wants the Kansas City-based company to hand over any product it has already manufactured bearing the North Pole City name and to compensate it for any lost profits, according to a story in The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City.

The store owner, David Green, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. According to the newspaper, the retailer filed the suit after learning that Hallmark planned to use the North Pole City name on some merchandise.

“Without North Pole City’s permission, defendants have indicated their intent to launch products and franchise development for holiday 2014 around a fictional city called North Pole City,” according to the lawsuit.

Julie O’Dell, a Hallmark spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the greeting card company was in touch with the retailer earlier this year about its merchandise plans.

“We are continuing our dialogue and are confident we can work this out,” O’Dell said.

She said the North Pole City name will not be used by Hallmark in any product this year. She said the company was planning a holiday product line for 2014 that “references a fictional North Pole City, but we feel there won’t be any consumer confusion.”

O’Dell declined to discuss any details of the holiday products. The Oklahoman reported that Hallmark filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June, indicating that it plans to use the North Pole City name on products such as books, stationery, greeting cards and gift wrapping paper.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.

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