Trader Joe’s Sues Workers’ Union Over Trademarks

Dealer Joe’s has sued its employees’ union to forestall it from promoting T-shirts, tote luggage and mugs emblazoned with the union’s brand and title, Dealer Joe’s United.

The grocery store filed a lawsuit in federal court docket in California on Thursday claiming the merchandise in the union’s on-line retailer infringes on its trademark and “dilutes” its model. The corporate alleges that the sale of the gadgets ― together with a reusable buying bag that claims Dealer Joe’s United and exhibits a raised fist clenching a field cutter ― might trigger “significant reputational harm.”

Dealer Joe’s requested the court docket to dam the union from promoting any such merch to its supporters.

“Certain of [the union’s] products use the TRADER JOE’S typed word mark and stylized word mark, the unique Trader Joe’s typeface and red coloring, and/or the concentric circle design and general composition of the registered TRADER JOE’S logo,” the corporate claimed in its grievance. “Trader Joe’s has not authorized [the union] to use Trader Joe’s intellectual property in this way to advertise and sell merchandise.”

Dealer Joe’s couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

HuffPost reported final week that the corporate threatened to take Dealer Joe’s United to court docket over the gadgets bought in its retailer run by Shiny Blue Ink, a union print store and internet retailer supervisor based mostly in Austin, Texas.

Dealer Joe’s had despatched a letter late final month to the union’s president, retailer worker Jamie Edwards, saying the products infringed on its logos and “trade dress” — a authorized time period that principally means the feel and appear.

Trader Joe’s employees and union activists hold a rally at a Trader Joe’s in lower Manhattan last year. The company has just sued its workers' union alleging trademark infringement.
Dealer Joe’s staff and union activists maintain a rally at a Dealer Joe’s in decrease Manhattan final 12 months. The corporate has simply sued its employees’ union alleging trademark infringement.

Spencer Platt through Getty Photos

The union’s legal professionals wrote a letter in return accusing the grocery store of making an attempt to “weaponize” trademark regulation towards its personal employees. Calling the claims “frivolous,” they mentioned the union had no intention of pulling its merchandise.

“This latest threat to the Union is just another in your continuing attack against labor,” the attorneys wrote.

A brand new union unaffiliated with a longtime labor group, Dealer Joe’s United has unionized 4 shops since final 12 months. None of Dealer Joe’s greater than 500 places had been organized earlier than then.

The union has accused the corporate of numerous unfair labor practices throughout its organizing marketing campaign, and the final counsel of the Nationwide Labor Relations Board lately filed a grievance accusing the grocery store of retaliating towards union organizers in Hadley, Massachusetts, the place Dealer Joe’s United was shaped.

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