Grocery Chain Trader Joe’s Sues Unaffiliated Crypto Project That’s Using Its Name; JOE Token Sinks

The grocer alleged the Trader Joe decentralized exchange chose a similar name to benefit from the former’s popularity.

AccessTimeIconOct 10, 2023 at 12:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 10, 2023 at 4:52 p.m. UTC

U.S. supermarket chain Trader Joe’s is suing decentralized exchange (DEX) Trader Joe, alleging federal trademark infringement.

“Defendants operate a cryptocurrency platform called 'Trader Joe' and use the domain name,” a court filing read. “Defendants named the platform 'after the supermarket' — none other than Trader Joe’s — and developed a narrative around a fictionalized 'Trader Joe' who sells his crops in the local marketplace, further evoking Trader Joe’s business and brand."

Trader Joe is one of the most popular decentralized exchanges, starting on the Avalanche network before expanding to BNB Chain, Arbitrum and Ethereum. It holds over $77 million in various tokens across chains and processed over $25 million in trades in September, data shows.

The complaint filed last week with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleges the DEX "committed fraud" to muddle its origin story to win legal proceedings over the domain name. After Trader Joe failed to respond to private requests to stop misusing the trademark, the retailer filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in May 2022 to strip the crypto firm of its domain name

"To salvage their case, Defendants concocted a false story. In the WIPO proceeding, Defendants obscured the true beginnings of the 'Trader Joe' name and falsely claimed that the platform had been named for the co-founder’s brother," the filing says.

The grocery chain is seeking damages and demanding a trial by jury.

The price of JOE, the native token of Trader Joe, was down 4.5% in the past week, and traders may continue to react to legal proceedings.

UPDATE (Oct. 10, 12:58 UTC): Adds detail from legal complaint throughout.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.

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