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  • Trader Joe’s Sues Grocery Delivery Web Site

    1. BY - Aug 14, 2011
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 12 Comments

    Trader Joe’s unhappy with food delivery service.

    Trader Joe'sFast growing and trendy grocery store chain Trader Joe’s has sued the owner of TJsDeliveryService.com for trademark infringement.

    The web site technically stands for “Traffic Jam’s” delivery service, but the site is forward about what it does: delivers groceries from Trader Joe’s directly to your home:

    After taking requests from family and friends to bring these products with us when visiting, we realized that folks across the country wanted to embrace the high quality, reasonably priced, and unique items that Trader Joe’s® purveys. As Trader Joe’s® only has approximately 350 stores across the US, many folks do not have a store nearby. Although we’d love to come and introduce ourselves to each of you with a bag full of the amazing Trader Joe’s® products you love, we soon realized that we could simply do the next best thing – ship them to your door.

    Trader Joe’s also argues that the web site was designed to mimic TraderJoes.com.

    Of course, if Trader Joe’s would just have an e-commerce web site then there would be no need for someone to start a business like TJsDeliveryService.com.

    You can read the lawsuit here (pdf).

12 Comments
  • If I’m Grocery Delivery, I will use domain such as todayorder.com.

  • That is fair use if you ask me.

  • I agree with Yury – It seems to be fair use.

    Even if it were TraderJoesDeliveryService.com, it should still be considered fair use.

    This is a very disappointing move by TraderJoes given their friendly image.

  • Totally disagree that this is fair use. This is a simple case of brand protection.

    What happens when customers of tjsdeliveryservice.com start thinking it’s really Trader Joes service? Who do you think they’ll go complain to?

    Big brands need to protect their trademark whether or not the infringing business in question is promoting their company or not.

  • Not only is it trademark infringement, but the prices they are charging are generally double what Trader Joe’s charges. It would be one thing to pay TJ’s prices and then pay a flat rate for delivery, but to trump up prices to whatever they deem appropriate is distasteful.

  • I was at TJ a few weeks ago and have my receipt, so I checked a few prices. Cat food that cost me .59 is .89 at that site. Sauce I got for 2.29 is 3.44 there. So that is pretty much 1.5x the price.

  • “The Ninth Circuit held that the domain names buy-a-lexus.com and buyorleaselexus.com could be fair use of the Lexus trademark.”

    http://simmonstrialpractice.com/fair-use-of-trademark-in-domain-name-ninth-circuit/

  • How dumb can these guys be. This is object stupidity.

    Even looking just at symantics, Traffic Jams can’t even be a possessive and they title their site “TJ’s.”

    How could Trader Joe’s insure their product through a non-licensed 3rd party?

  • @Jesse – Why should they avoid referring to “TJs” within their name? They are trying to convey to the public that they deliver Trader Joes products, so TJsDeliveryService would be fair use.

    See http://simmonstrialpractice.com/fair-use-of-trademark-in-domain-name-ninth-circuit/

  • In the Toyota case, they were brokering Toyotas to be purchased from an authorized Toyota dealer at competitive prices. Here, is different. Traffic Jams diluted the trademark by reselling goods at a higher price after purchasing them. This isn’t a service fee. They are reselling Trader Joe’s goods, which actually could be argued to be price fixing. Trader Joe’s has lost its relationship with its customer to in unlicensed intermediary. In Toyota, the dealer still delivered the car.

    In the Toyota case, Toyota sells the car and the web site brokers. Here, TJ’s is shipping goods it purchases adding themselves to the stream of commerce.

    Totally different cases and different analysis of the factors.

    Second, and more important, the Toyota court found that Lexis is using the name to refer to Lexis. Here, the company is using “TJ’s” to apparently refer to it’s own brand “Traffic Jams,” while looking at it simultaneously as Trader Joes.

    These guys are screwed.

    Read the actual case. Totally different.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3247992985874480529&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

    Also, notice both sites at issue in the Toyota case are still down.

  • I understand the domain name or trademark infringement, but say if these guys decided to start a delivery service where they did not mark up Trader Joe’s products prices and just charged a flat delivery fee, would this be illegal or could Trader Joe’s take any legal action in this case?

  • Trader Joe’s should realize it’s 2012 and provide online ordering to customers then another company wouldn’t be able to swoop in and provide this service. Get with the program Trader Joe’s.

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