20 September 2016Trademarks

Aldi caught in fishy trademark suit

Discount supermarket chain Aldi has been targeted in a trademark infringement lawsuit by a US-based tuna company.

American Tuna filed its suit against Aldi at the US District Court for the Southern District of California on Friday, September 16.

The tuna company claimed that Aldi infringed its brand ‘Pole & Line’, for which it has had common law trademark rights since January 2014. It also has a registered trademark for ‘Pole & Line’, US number 4,778,044.

The mark falls into international class 29 and covers meat, poultry, fish and edible oils.

American Tuna claimed that Aldi has used the ‘Pole & Line’ mark to sell canned fish and related products similar to American Tuna’s goods.

It also alleged that Aldi has “passed their products and services off in a manner calculated to deceive plaintiff’s customers and members of the general public”.

In June, American Tuna sent a cease and desist letter to the supermarket. Aldi’s representative, Vincent Elders of law firm Smith, Landmeier & Elders, replied in July, stating that Aldi would not stop usingthe mark.

American Tuna has also claimed unfair competition.

The tuna company is seeking actual damages, triple damages for wilful infringement, injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees.

American Tuna is a company founded by six pole and line fishing families in 2005 and it provides sustainable canned albacore tuna to its customers.

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