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Trader Joe's Co. has filed suit in federal court against Gristede's Foods, Inc., alleging that the New York supermarket operator is infringing on Trader Joe's trademark by planning to open a store called Trader John's, according to a published report.
What's more, Gristedes will open the Trader John's location a mere three blocks from a Trader Joe's store in Manhattan, according to the complaint, which was filed Jan. 8.
"We take seriously any attempt to infringe on our trademark, and we are taking the necessary action to stop this particular attempt," Trader Joe's spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki told Bloomberg News.
Meanwhile, Gristedes c.e.o. John Catsimatidis insists the case is without merit. "My name is John and I am a trader, so I don't know what their problem is," he told the news service.
The Trader John's store is set to open Jan. 15, according to Catsimatidis.
The complaint noted that Trader Joe's sent a "cease and desist" letter Jan. 6 to Gristedes about the store. In addition to the similar-sounding name, which the complaint called a "blatant attempt to confuse consumers and capitalize on Trader Joe's hard-earned goodwill," Trader Joe's contends that the sign, awning, and inside decor of the Trader John's store all rip off unique Trader Joe's design elements.
The lawsuit further alleges trade dress infringement, false advertising, deceptive trade practices, and unfair competition.
Local bloggers have already been abuzz about the impending store opening, and the new site's similarities to Trader Joe's, the complaint notes.
Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe's operates 300 locations in 25 states and Washington, while Gristedes has about 35 stores in the New York metropolitan area.