Trader Joe's Battle With Canadian Copycat Isn't Over

Appeals court says trademark suit can continue
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2016 6:28 PM CDT
Trader Joe's Battle With Canadian Copycat Isn't Over
Pedestrians pass the Pirate Joe's store in Vancouver, Canada in 2013.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

The "renegade" grocery store bringing Canadians a taste of Trader Joe's might be in jeopardy once again: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a 2013 lawsuit the US grocery store brought against Pirate Joe's—a Vancouver, BC, store run by Michael Hallatt, who buys goods at Trader Joe's across the border, then sells them for a profit in Canada, where Trader Joe's doesn't operate, per the Guardian. A US judge initially dismissed the suit, arguing Trader Joe's couldn't prove Hallatt was affecting its business. But while a three-judge panel upheld the dismissal of certain claims from that suit on Friday, it allowed the case to continue on federal trademark claims in a unanimous decision, per Courthouse News.

Stressing that Hallatt transports products across the border without proper quality control measures, Judge Morgan Christen writes that Trader Joe's could "suffer a tarnished reputation and resultant monetary harm in the United States from contaminated goods sold in Canada," per NPR. "Trader Joe's alleges that it is aware of at least one customer who became sick after consuming food sold by Pirate Joe's," he adds. Hallatt denies selling the item in question and says the whole suit is silly. "I buy up the stuff … I own it, I get to do with it whatever I want to and I just happen to want to sell it to my friends in Canada," he says. "Honestly, I think Trader Joe's should just open a store in Canada and put me out of my misery." (Trader Joe's is accused of stealing a cookie.)

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