The owners of a premium tuna brand called Pole & Line are suing Aldi for using the same trademark on cans of its discount tuna, according to Law360.
Something’s ‘fishy’ in this fight…
American Tuna Inc. (ATI) says it has the trademark on the name ‘Pole & Line’ and that the discount grocer’s attempt to sell tuna under the same name could ‘deceive’ consumers.
‘[ATI tuna is] caught by artisanal fisherman using sustainable methods where the tuna are caught one at a time,’ the company’s complaint states.
According to some legal experts, ATI may have a tough go of it trying to prove its case. That’s because ‘Pole & Line’ is widely used to describe a method of catching fish individually, rather than being tied to any one particular company.
While not impossible to make the case, ATI will likely have to prove that its product have ‘acquired distinctiveness’ among consumers to win this fight.
ATI sells its tuna at Whole Foods, among other places.
The latest salvo in the ongoing tuna wars
This is the just the latest time tensions have boiled over in the tuna wars involving both processors and consumers.
Last year, Starkist was accused of going too light with the product in its cans, under-filling certain 5 oz. canned tuna products in violation of state and federal law. Without admitting any wrongdoing, the company announced a settlement in August 2015 that allowed customers who bought select Starkist products between 2009 and 2014 to get either $25 in cash or $50 in tuna.
Subsequent to that, Trader’s Joe’s faced the same claim about under-filling cans in a January 2016 lawsuit.