NBC News "For a man who calls himself "Pirate Joe," a legal victory this week allowing him to continue operating his business is as sweet as the Trader Joe's chocolate bars that he sells for a small profit in his Vancouver store."
'Michael Hallatt, 53, has been stocking his 600-square-foot shop
exclusively with Trader Joe's products and selling them to Canadians —
who don't have Trader Joe's stores in their country — for nearly two
years. The 1,200 items he offers fly off the shelves, but the Victoria,
British Columbia, native's livelihood was threatened in May when
Monrovia, Calif.-based grocer Trader Joe's slapped him with a lawsuit.
have this chalkboard sign out front," Hallatt said on Thursday, a day
after the suit was dismissed. "We quickly changed it from 'Unauthorized
and unafraid' to 'We won!'"
'The suit, filed in federal court in Washington state, alleged federal
trademark infringement, deceptive business practices, injury to
business and reputation, false endorsement and false designation of
origin, false advertising, federal trademark dilution, and unfair
'In August, Hallatt's lawyers filed a motion to
dismiss the case. "There's really no damage. He's buying the product at
full-price. Trader Joe's is getting paid fully for the product he's
taking," said Nathan Alexander, a partner at a Seattle firm.
'While U.S. district judge Marsha J. Pechman's decision dismisses the
federal suit, it gives Trader Joe's the option of bringing state law
claims forward within 10 days against Hallatt. Trader Joe's did not say
whether they will pursue further legal action.
'"We sell our
products in our stores to our customers; and to maintain the goodwill
and integrity of the Trader Joe’s brand, it is extremely important to us
to protect and preserve the customer experience we have developed in
our stores over the past 46 years," Trader Joe's said in a statement on
Thursday. "While we are disappointed and disagree with the Court’s
determination that it could not exercise jurisdiction over the
defendant’s activities in Canada, we will continue to do everything in
our power to protect our trademarks and the integrity of our products
for our customers."'