Court sides with Trader Joe’s in suit over alleged knockoff

A federal appeals court has revived a trademark lawsuit by grocery chain Trader Joe’s against a man who purchases the company’s products and resells them in Canada at a store designed to mimic a real Trader Joe’s.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a district court in Washington did have the authority to hear the lawsuit’s federal trademark claims even though the defendant, Michael Hallatt, does not sell the products in the United States. U.S. Circuit Judge Morgan Christen said Hallatt’s conduct could harm Trader Joe’s reputation, decreasing the value of its American-held trademarks.

Christen also pointed out that Hallatt buys the Trader Joe’s goods he resells in Washington state. The 9th Circuit overturned part of a lower court ruling dismissing the suit.

A call to Hallatt’s attorney was not immediately returned.

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