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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

Grocery Chain Trader Joe's Sues Trader Joe

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

According to a report from Blockworks, American supermarket chain Trader Joe’s is taking legal action in the state of California to rectify a trademark conflict with a decentralized cryptocurrency platform bearing an almost identical name.

On October 5th, the grocery chain filed a lawsuit against the crypto platform “Trader Joe” and its co-founder Cheng Chieh Liu, alleging that they intentionally chose a name similar to the supermarket’s.

The grocery chain's attorneys stated that the decentralized exchange (DEX) created a narrative around a fictional “Trader Joe,” closely associated with the supermarket’s brand.

They went on to argue that the crypto firm’s logo, which features an image of “Trader Joe” wearing a red cap, is the predominant color of the grocery’s chain brand.

Bear in mind that red is also the predominant color of the Avalanche blockchain where the Trader Joe DEX was first launched.

According to the lawsuit, co-founder Liu is a Chinese citizen residing in Singapore who registered the disputed domain name,

In the lawsuit, Trader Joe’s argues against the crypto company’s use of a name deemed “confusingly similar.”

This name was found on the platform’s primary website, an app accessible through the Apple App Store, as well as on platforms like X, YouTube, Reddit, Github, LinkedIn, Substack, CoinMarketCap, Telegram, and Discord.

The lawsuit alleges that when approached, the defendants attempted to conceal their origin story in hopes to achieve a stronger stance in legal proceedings regarding the domain.

The plaintiff claims that exposing the genuine backstory would erode the crypto firm’s case and any lawful claim to the domain.

“Defendants neither sought nor received Trader Joe’s permission to name their platform after Trader Joe’s,” the lawsuit said, adding that they instead sent them cease-and-desist letters and received no response.

Trader Joe was launched in 2021 by an anonymous team, and operates as a non-custodial exchange protocol on the Avalanche blockchain (initially a SushiSwap fork), according to Token Terminal.

Liquidity providers deposit funds into Trader Joe and, in exchange, earn trading fees from traders, referred to as supply-side fees.

Trader Joe’s claimed that the crypto exchange’s staff uses aliases not only externally but within the company as well.

The plaintiff also alleged that the crypto platform’s use of the “Trader Joe” branding is granting them the ability to receive commercial benefits from the renown trademark and larger reputation of the grocery chain.

“Obscuring their identities both from outsiders and each other in day-to-day business dealings evidences an intent to avoid detection, subvert legal process, and operate free of legal consequence,” they said.

Blockworks reached out to members of Trader Joe XYZ’s development team, who declined to comment.

Trader Joe’s supermarket chain petitioned the court to issue an order forcing the crypto firm to halt the use of its name in any variation in their business operations.

They also seek possession of the relevant domain names and any additional damages to be decided through legal proceedings.

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