It looks like North Pole City has been marked off Hallmark's Christmas card list.
The Oklahoma City holiday supply shop recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Hallmark in what will surely be a battle to see who can profit off the birth of Jesus Christ the most. Ornament collector and egg nog enthusiast Brianna Bailey has some of the details via NewsOK.com:
The Oklahoma City seasonal store, which sells Christmas ornaments and holiday collectibles, filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit on Monday against Hallmark over the use of the name North Pole City.
The retailer filed the lawsuit after it learned of Hallmark's plans to use the North Pole City name on its merchandise, store owner David Green said in a statement released through his attorney Tuesday.
“Hallmark has been well aware that North Pole City has utilized the ‘North Pole City' phrase or name for some time,” Green said. “We are still hopeful that we can resolve this dispute informally with Hallmark.”
Wait a second. You're telling me that David Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby, also owns North Pole City? That guy sure knows how to make a profit off the birth of his lord and savior. Isn't owning Hobby Lobby enough? I'm pretty sure they start pushing Christmas stuff the day after the 4th of July. Is David Green really that greedy / bored that he needs to own a small mom n' pop retail shop that's only open three months of the year?
Here are some other details from the lawsuit:
The retailer claims that Kansas City-based Hallmark is planning to roll out a new line of holiday products branded with the name North Pole City — all without the Oklahoma City business's permission...
Hallmark has plans to use the North Pole City name on a “series of fictional books, stationary, greeting cards, gift wrapping paper,” as well as “cookie decoration devices, serving plates and cheese spreaders, according its application filed with the Patent and Trademark Office.
I know a bit about copyright and trademark law, and this is an interesting case. Trying to pick a side is like trying to decide the hero in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special. Is it Hermie the Elf for dangerously extracting the Abominable Snowman's teeth, or is it Rudolph for guiding Santa's sleigh and saving Christmas? Actually, it's probably Yukon Cornelius for coming up with the plan to knock out the Snowman, but you get my point. Both sides have a good argument. What consumer is really going to confuse a fictional Christmas village with a seasonal retailer in Oklahoma? Then again, Hallmark has a bunch of retail stores and franchises, including many in Oklahoma City. Having a "North Pole City" in their stores would be like Urban Outfitters launching a fictional town called Blue 7.
Anyway, I wonder if there's anything else in the article we should know about:
Founded by Green, the North Pole City store has sold decorations and Christmas themed items from its 26,000 square-foot building off Interstate 44 since the early 1990s. The store's candy-striped pole sign with Santa climbing up the side is an Oklahoma City landmark.
Green registered the North Pole City name with the Oklahoma secretary of state in 1997 and the business has operated the website northpolecity.com since 1995. (North Pole City's David Green is no relation to the David Green who founded and leads Oklahoma City-based retailer Hobby Lobby)
Oh... so it's a different David Green that owns a shop based in Oklahoma City selling cheap Christmas items. I don't know about you, but that's what sounds like copyright infringement to me. Maybe if the Christmas thing doesn't work out, he can change his name Michael Dell and sell computers online. Seriously, he better hope his suppliers in China don't find out about this. If they discover he's not the guy from Hobby Lobby, they'll probably raise his prices.