Monrovia-based grocer Trader Joe’s Co. can file an injunction against an unauthorized Canadian reseller of its goods as early as Monday, according to court documents.
The company is suing Michael Hallatt, owner of Pirate Joe’s, for trademark infringement and unfair competition in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Trader Joe’s filed its lawsuit against Hallatt in May 2013 for his practice of driving to the United States from Vancouver, Canada, stocking up on Trader Joe's goods and reselling them at a significant markup back in Vancouver.
That case was dismissed in October 2013, saying that U.S. trademark law couldn’t be applied to a Canadian company. Last August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the lawsuit had been improperly dismissed. In its decision, the court said Hallatt’s actions could affect the value of Trader Joe’s American trademarks and that Hallatt and his employees were engaging in American commerce while purchasing the goods.
The injunction would stop Pirate Joe’s from selling any of Trader Joe’s products.
Hallatt launched a fundraising campaign this week on Crowd Justice, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to financing legal cases, to cover his legal fees.
“I’m crowdfunding for $50,000 because that’s what’s going to allow me to cover the legal costs related to the Trader Joe’s preliminary injunction filing,” Hallatt wrote on the campaign’s website. “As long as I can get beyond that point, I will be in a position to start dealing with things like expert witness disclosures, rebuttals to their reports and other legal motions.”
As of Friday, more than $4,500 had been pledged.
Hallatt said on the crowdfunding website that he legally bought the goods at full price in the U.S. and then declared them at the U.S.-Canadian border before selling them in his Vancouver store.
Caroline Anderson is a staff reporter covering restaurants, retail, and hospitality. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.