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Reuters reports that "grocery-store chain Trader Joe's sued its employee union in Los Angeles federal court … claiming the union's sales of merchandise related to the company violated its trademark rights.

"The grocer's lawsuit said Trader Joe's United sells tote bags, buttons, mugs and other products featuring the store's name and logo that are likely to confuse customers into thinking it made or endorsed them … Trader Joe's said in its complaint that it was not seeking to block sales of the union's merchandise altogether. It asked the court to order the union to stop misusing its trademarks and requested an unspecified amount of money damages."

The union response:  "A lawyer for the union, Seth Goldstein, said the lawsuit was part of a 'union-busting campaign' to deprive Trader Joe's United of its ability to fund itself, calling it 'outrageous' and a violation of the National Labor Relations Act."

KC's View:

Even unions have to comply with trademark law.  This strikes me as a distraction - the union should just get past this and focus on more important things.