Monday, October 7, 2013

Arr! Pirate Joe’s Blows Down Trader Joe’s in Trademark Infringement Dispute

Monday, October 07, 2013
Michael Hallatt of Pirate Joe’s makes his keep by purchasing goods from Trader Joe’s in the U.S. and reselling them to Vancouver residents. Trader Joe’s didn’t like the sound of that and took Michael to court, alleging trademark infringement and false advertising. They also said Michael was hurting their brand by the way he decorated his Kitsilano shop.

Trader Joe’s called upon a powerful U.S. law called the Lanham Act to take down Pirate Joe’s. "The Lanham Act, which is this very broad powerful statute that allows corporations to, kind of, you know, beat up on anybody that affects U.S. commerce is very, very strong and powerful and can essentially shut down commerce in another country," said Hallatt in an interview with CBC on October 4, 2013.

Trader Joe’s alleged that 40% of the customers who pay by credit card in their Bellingham location are Canadian. They went on to say that these customers would most likely stay in Canada if they could purchase the same goods locally. However, in today’s judgement, a Washington state judge dismissed the suit saying that Trader Joe’s failed to prove it competes for customers. They have 10 days to file an appeal.

Michael Hallatt spends approximately $4,000 - $5,000 per week purchasing goods from Trader Joe’s in Bellingham. The trademark infringement lawsuit was filed in Washington state in May, 2013.