August 2013

Kelly McCarthy comments on recent Trader Joe’s lawsuit for Forbes


David vs. Goliath, Trader Joe’s Sues Independent Reseller ‘Pirate Joe’
August 19, 2013

He doesn’t wear an eye patch, keep a parrot on his shoulder, or shout “Arrg” (at least as far as we know.) But Michael Hallatt is running a grocery operation in Vancouver, Canada based entirely on running Trader Joe’s private label foodstuffs over the border. Hallatt’s been offering the goods to eager Canadians since 2012, but he recently got served by the California-based grocery chain.

For a chain that’s capitalized on a laid-back vibe complete with cashiers decked out in Hawaiian shirts, Trader Joe’s got serious, filing a lawsuit in federal court in Washington state, alleges federal trademark infringement; unfair competition, false endorsement and false designation of origin; false advertising; federal trademark dilution; injury to business and reputation; and deceptive business practices. Hallatt’s lawyers in Seattle filed a motion to dismiss. ”This is a little bit David versus Goliath and a little bit Occupy Grocery,” Hallatt told the San Francisco Chronicle.