Hallmark Cards Inc. has agreed to license technology from Tumbleweed Communications Corp. to settle a lawsuit that claimed the greeting card company illegally used the California software company's technology.

Tumbleweed Communications of Redwood City, Calif., had sued Hallmark, a privately owned Kansas City company, and Cleveland-based American Greetings Corp., contending that both companies infringed on patents covering Internet messaging. American Greetings also settled the lawsuit earlier this month by agreeing to license Tumbleweed's technology.

Terms of the licensing deals were not released.

Tumbleweed holds patents for Internet technology that allows a company to send an e-mail with a Web site address developed for the recipient of the e-mail. The technology allows Hallmark and American Greetings to notify people who receive e-mail greeting cards that the cards have been sent. It then allows the recipients to click on a link in the e-mail directing them to a Web site where they can view the personalized greetings.

"We are pleased to work with an established industry leader such as Hallmark, to enable them to bring the best technology features to their customers through our licensed technology," Tumbleweed's Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smith said Monday in a written statement.

Hallmark officials could not be reached for comment.

Tumbleweed filed the lawsuits in federal court in San Francisco.

Hallmark and American Greetings are two of the largest online greeting card sites. Hallmark's service is free, while American Greetings' formerly free e-greetings for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions now cost $11.95 a year for unlimited use. Everyday greetings are still free.