Klein & Wilson

Canadian store owner sued for reselling Trader Joe's products

A man who owns a shop in Vancouver, B.C. called Pirate Joe's has been sued by California-based grocery store chain, Trader Joe's. The lawsuit wants the man's shop closed for allegedly violating a number of U.S. federal laws relating to the resale of Trader Joe's products.

The lawsuit alleges the man has committed trademark infringement, false advertisement, unfair competition, deceptive business practices and several other civil violations. The owner of Pirate Joe's is quite upset with the lawsuit. His attorneys, who are based out of Seattle, Washington, have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

According to the owner of the shop, he drives from Vancouver to Trader Joe's stores in the U.S. each week. He spends thousands of dollars on their products, travels back to Vancouver and sells those products in his store. He estimates that he has spent over $350,000 in under two years' time.

The items he buys are sold for a profit, but since Trader Joe's has figured out the man's operation, it is now more difficult for him to make his purchases. He says that most of the Trader Joe's stores in Washington, Oregon and Northern California have now posted his picture. He is asked to leave when he arrives. His trips are taking him further away from the Canadian-U.S. border, with San Francisco now being his main target.

The man has stated he has even tried dressing as a woman in an effort to shop undetected; however, someone made a call to the police when he was putting on earrings, flip-flops and a muumuu in the parking lot. The person thought he was planning to rob the store.

Trader Joe's has filed the lawsuit in Washington, although there are some who believe the "first-sale doctrine" will allow the shop owner to prevail. There are some complications, though, when the resale items are perishable. One thing is certain, Trader Joe's has certainly made a lot of money off the man.

If you believe your company has suffered due to the actions of another business or individual, contact an experienced business litigation attorney. There is recourse available, especially when your company's interests are stake.

seattletimes.com, "Trader Joe's suing man who resells its products in Canada" Patricia Yollin, Aug. 19, 2013

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