Kansas City, Missouri-based Hallmark Cards, Inc. has long been the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States ever since being founded over a century ago. For the past seven years, Hallmark had been engaged in a legal dispute with Monitor Company Group of Massachusetts. On November 19, 2012, the Kansas City Star reported that a federal jury awarded Hallmark $31.3 million in damages after a two-week trial for a trade secrets case that is the last lawsuit stemming from the dispute.
According to the Star, Hallmark hired Monitor in 2001 to help redesign the greeting card company’s business model. In 2005, sister company Monitor Clipper Partners said it was acquiring Recycled Paper Greetings Inc., a Hallmark competitor that the Kansas City Business Journal reported was later acquired in a pre-packaged bankruptcy by American Greetings Corp.—another Hallmark rival.
In 2007, an arbiter ruled that Monitor Company Group had breached its confidentiality agreement with Hallmark, and three years later, Monitor agreed to pay $12.5 million for breach of contract. The Journal reported that the jury award included $21.3 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages against Monitor Clipper Partners, the equity firm that misappropriated inside information.
In a statement released by the company, Hallmark vice president and general counsel Brian Gardner said, “We are pleased with the jury’s verdict and their recognition of the importance of protecting proprietary business information and intellectual property.”
Misappropriation of confidential business information can have extremely damaging consequences for companies, and you can find more information about other forms of unfair competition on our website. If you believe that your company has experienced a breach in trade secrets, you can contact our firm at (323) 653-3900 or complete the form on this page to have our Los Angeles trade secret attorneys review your case.
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