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Trader Joe’s is asking a federal appeals courtroom to reverse a choose’s scathing dismissal of the grocery store chain firm’s lawsuit that alleged trademark infringement by an worker labor union in promoting merchandise on its web site.
The enchantment, filed Thursday, comes practically a month after the choose accused Trader Joe’s of attempting to “weaponize the authorized system to achieve a bonus in an ongoing labor dispute” in opposition to the Trader Joe’s United union.
Trader Joe’s, a lawyer for the corporate, and a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s United didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark concerning the firm’s submitting on the ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
The union, which at the moment represents Trader Joe’s staff at two shops in Hadley, Massachusetts, and Minneapolis, is pushing to cut price for and signify staff at different shops, which the corporate opposes.
Trader Joe’s sued the union in mid-July final yr in Los Angeles federal courtroom. The go well with claimed that the group had infringed on the corporate’s emblems in producing “union merchandise resembling buttons, mugs, t-shirts, and tote baggage bought on the Union’s web site,” Judge Hernan Vera famous in his dismissal ruling in January.
Trader Joe’s Union brand pictured on pins.
The go well with was filed six days after the National Labor Relations Board issued a consolidated criticism in opposition to Trader Joe’s that alleged unfair labor practices, which included retaliating in opposition to employees, threats and different acts, the choose famous.
“Trader Joe’s maintains that it is a purely business dispute and that the Union’s designs are inflicting client confusion and diluting the Trader Joe’s household of emblems,” Vera wrote.
But Vera wrote that the go well with “is undoubtedly associated to an present labor dispute, and it strains credulity to imagine” that the criticism would have been filed with out the union’s organizing efforts.
The choose wrote that the go well with “comes dangerously near the road of Rule 11,” which can lead to attorneys being sanctioned in the event that they file authorized actions for an improper goal, or with out the claims being warranted.
“The Court dismisses Trader Joe’s request for injunctive aid underneath the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which was handed by Congress exactly to extract courts from the unlucky enterprise of issuing ostensibly business-related injunctions in pending labor disputes,” the choose wrote.
But Vera went additional than simply denying the corporate’s request for an injunction to cease the union from promoting the merchandise.
Applying trademark legal guidelines, Vera mentioned there was “no probability of confusion posed by the Union’s campaign-related merchandise.”
“The logos utilized by the Union are in a special font, don’t make the most of the distinctive fruit basket design, apply concentric rings of totally different proportions, and are utilized to merchandise that no cheap client may confuse as coming from Trader Joe’s itself,” the choose wrote.
The Trader Joe’s Union Logo
He additionally mentioned that the truth that customers would discover the merchandise on sale on the union’s web site — the one place the place it’s bought — “minimizes the probability the general public will mistakenly assume the products at concern are associated” to Trader Joe’s merchandise.
“It is solely not believable to think about an affordable client going to the Union’s web site, buying a Union-branded espresso mug, and mistakenly believing it to be bought by Trader Joe’s,” the choose wrote.
The ruling mentioned that the influence of on-line gross sales of merchandise by the union on Trader Joe’s market is “undoubtedly” very slight.
But “the potential chilling impact and different collateral impacts on union members ensuing from these lawsuits might be vital,” the choose wrote.