Pirate Joe's, which sold products from Trader Joe's in Canada at a markup, closed Thursday as part of a court agreement between Trader Joe's and Pirate Joe's owner Mike Hallatt.
Hallatt operated Pirate Joe’s for five years, travelling to Seattle and buying products in bulk from Trader Joe’s to sell at his Vancouver store, The New York Times reported. In 2013, after Trader Joe’s caught wind of his actions, it filed a lawsuit against Hallatt for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising.
A Washington federal court ruled that since the violations occurred in Canada where Trader Joe’s had no stores, the retailer failed to prove Pirate Joe’s impacted its business in the U.S. But Trader Joe’s appealed, and an appeals court sent the case back to the lower courts for a trial that would have taken place in November, the Times reported.
Hallatt spent $75,000 of his own money to fight the case, and needed to raise $250,000 to keep fighting. He raised only $5,700 of the money, so he decided to settle with the retailer rather than go to trial, the Times reported.
“I had to face the music,” Hallatt said on CTV News. “I got myself into this, so I had to get myself out of it.” Citing the cost to keep fighting, Hallatt said, “We’re agreeing to disagree on the merits of the case.”
Although Hallatt was barred from Trader Joe’s stores after his piracy was discovered, he used disguises, helpful friends, and day laborers to continue purchasing products to resell until he closed the store, the Times reported.
Hallatt kept his sense of humor through the entire case, which was evident from some of his recent tweets.
And finally, a goodbye to customers.
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