Trader Joe’s in Mislabeling, Trademark Disputes
A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Trader Joe’s Co. falsely advertises its Sour Gummies by failing to disclose that the product contains d-l-malic acid. Wong v. Trader Joe’s Co., No. 18-0869 (S.D. Cal., removed to federal court May 4, 2018). The plaintiff asserts that under California law, “any artificial flavor must be identified on both the front-of-package label and the product ingredient list. Defendants fail to do either.”
According to the complaint, “Trader Joe’s maintains a pervasive national marketing campaign guaranteeing that all its house-brand products are only naturally flavored,” including the statement “when you see our name on a label, you can be assured that the product contains: YES quality ingredients NO artificial flavors.” Alleging unfair competition, false advertising and negligent misrepresentation, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.
In addition, Trader Joe’s has filed a notice of opposition to an application for the trademark “Trader Schmo,” to be used for a line of kosher foods. Trader Joe’s Co. v. Glassover, No. 91240886 (T.T.A.B., notice filed April 27, 2018). Trader Joe’s alleges that the “identified goods are identical to those goods sold, distributed, marketed and advertised” in connection with the Trader Joe’s mark. Moreover, the notice states, the company uses its own “structurally identical marks” to identify house-brand food products, such as Trader Giotto’s for Italian foods, Trader José for Mexican foods and Trader Ming’s for Chinese food.