Pirate Joe’s gives in to Trader Joe’s
The founder of Vancouver-based Pirate Joe’s is giving up his ship in his battle against Trader Joe’s. After years of selling products from U.S. retailer Trader Joe's in Canada, Mike Hallatt has ended his fight against the grocery giant, which filed a lawsuit against him that was scheduled to go to trial in November.
Hallatt closed Pirate Joe’s this week after five years in business.
"I had to face the music," he told Vancouver’s CTV News. "I got myself into this, so I had to get myself out of it."
Hallatt had recently turned to the internet to raise money to defend himself against Monrovia, Calif.-Trader Joe’s lawsuit. Hallatt was accepting donations on the fundraising platform, Crowd Justice, citing that “Trader Joe’s is trying to force my small grocery store to close its doors by suing us in U.S. Federal District Court — despite the fact that we have done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Last summer a U.S. federal appeals court determined that Washington State had the authority to hear a trademark lawsuit by Trader Joe's against Pirate Joe's for reselling Trader Joe's products purchased in Washington. The U.S. Federal District Court initially dismissed Trader Joe's violation claims as the violation occurred in Canada, where no Trader Joe's stores exist.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the district court's decision to dismiss Trader Joe's federal trademark claims against Pirate Joe's, ruling Hallatt could devalue the American-held trademark with the knockoff branding and online merchandising.