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Pirate Joe’s in Vancouver wins a battle against Trader Joe’s

Michael Hallatt, who makes a living buying Trader Joe's products in the U.S. and reselling them in his Vancouver, B.C., store prevails in a lawsuit the grocery chain filed against him in May (Paul Chinn/AP photo)

A Canadian store owner who makes a living out of reselling Joe Joe’s cookies, Joe’s O’s and other supplies from Trader Joe’s has won his legal battle against the grocery chain.

I first wrote about Pirate Joe’s owner Michael Hallatt in May, when Trader Joe’s filed a lawsuit against him alleging trademark infringement and false advertising.

The large chain argued that the 600-square-foot shop in Vancouver, B.C., was “harming its reputation.”

U.S. district Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed the federal suit recently, ruling there was “no basis” for the suit since all the alleged infringements take place in Canada, and Trader Joe’s cannot show economic harm.

There are almost 400 Trader Joe’s locations, including 14 in Washington, but none in Canada.

Hallatt pays full-price for Trader Joe’s products. He says he spent more than $350,000 buying food last year – generally at the Bellingham store – and he contends he’s not affecting U.S. commerce at all.

Trader Joe’s has the option to file a claim under state law against Hallatt within 10 days.

The company hasn’t said if it will pursue further legal action, but says in a statement they “will continue to do everything in our power to protect our trademarks.”

“We sell our products in our stores to our customers; and to maintain the goodwill and integrity of the Trader Joe’s brand, it is extremely important to us to protect and preserve the customer experience we have developed in our stores over the past 46 years,” the company says in an emailed statement.

Do you side with the little guy, or the company trying to protect its trademark in this case?


Related: Trader Joe’s ex-president to open a store selling expired food

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