VANCOUVER -- Privateer? Maybe. Pirate? Not so much.
That was the effect of a ruling from a Washington state judge as she scuppered a lawsuit filed by U.S. grocery giant Trader Joe's against British Columbia-based upstart impersonator, Pirate Joe's.
Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed the suit against a Vancouver man who buys products at Trader Joe's stores south of the border and resells them in his brazenly named shop in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood.
In keelhauling the action, Pechman also ruled there was no basis to apply a U.S. law known as the Lanham Act, which confers broad jurisdictional powers upon U.S. courts.
Trader Joe's filed the lawsuit in May against Michael Hallatt, who is a Canadian citizen with permanent U.S. alien status.
"Here, all alleged infringement takes place in Canada and Trader Joe's cannot show economic harm," Pechman said in a written ruling issued this week. "Even if Canadian consumers are confused and believe they are shopping at a Trader Joe's or an approved affiliate when shopping at Pirate Joe's, there is no economic harm to Trader Joe's because the products were purchased at Trader Joe's at retail price."
She said Trader Joe's also unsuccessfully argued Pirate Joe's was competing for Canadian customers who may purchase goods in the U.S.
In its lawsuit filed in Washington, Trader Joe's alleged trademark infringement and false advertising and raised other concerns that it said were hurting its brand.
The company also argued Hallatt was not authorized to resell Trader Joe's products and was misleading people by dressing up his store in a way that looks similar to the U.S. stores.
On Friday, Trader Joe's spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said the company is disappointed in the ruling and disagrees with Pechman's determination that it could not exercise jurisdiction over Hallatt's activities in Canada.
-- The Canadian Press