- A Vancouver man opened a store called Pirate Joe's. The store mimics the look of Trader Joe's and is stocked with items purchased from a Trader Joe's on the U.S. side of the border. Trader Joe's doesn't operate stores in Canada.
- Trader Joe's filed a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement—the Pirate Joe store is filled with items bearing Trader Joe's trademarked logo.
- A U.S. judge threw out the suit saying Trader Joe's could not show it had been harmed since the products sold at Pirate Joe's were purchased at full retail price from Trader Joe's outlets.
We're not attorneys. We're certainly not attorneys who specialize in cross-border intellectual-property disputes. But we don't need to be. It seems clear that Trader Joe's will win this case when it makes its way to a higher court. In the meantime, we'll say this: Pirate Joe's may not be illegal (yet), but it's the sleaziest business we've run into in a long time.