Direct Source Seafood and Aqua Star Settle Chef’s Net Trademark Suit with No Damages to Either Party
A $2 Million lawsuit filed by Direct Source Seafood against Aqua Star charging violation of the CHEF’S NET trademark has been settled with no payments of damages to either party. The dispute arose last year when DSS accused Aqua Star of selling shrimp with the Chef’s Net packaging and trademark. This winter, the parties agreed to a stipulated settlement which would permanently enjoin Aqua Star from selling shrimp under the CHEF’S NET brand. Washington District Court Judge Robert Lasnik accepted the motion by both parties this week.
The US Court of International Trade (CIT) sided with domestic shrimp producers who argued duty rates for Vietnamese shrimp exporters were too low because of publicity about labor abuse. The Trade Court asked The Department of Commerce to explain its duty rate calculation in a decision that could raise duties on Vietnamese shrimp exporters and subject more companies to dumping rates. “This decision highlights the risk to seafood importers under new Customs laws banning imports f forced labor because it shows that U.S. industries are paying attention to labor abuses abroad, particularly in the seafood sector, and it shows that alleged labor abuses can be used as a means to curb foreign trade even in the context of trade remedies proceedings,” said Jarrod Goldfeder, an international trade attorney at Trade Pacific PLLC in Washington D.C.
In other news, we run a profile of Thai Union's growth through a number of mergers and acquisitions over the last 20 years. These deal were done under the leadership of its CEO, Thiraphong Chansiri who took over the business from his father in 1994. Chansiri set his management team the goal of becoming an $8 billion a year company by 2020 + more than double its revenue in 2015.
Meanwhile, Ocean Beauty Seafoods will relocate its Seattle production and distribution operations to Renton, just south of Seattle, by the end of 2017. The new facility will provide over 78,000 square feet of space with easier highway access and will help the company continue to grow and improve customer service. “We have outgrown this building and we are in a location that is very difficult to move trucks in and out of,” said Tom Sunderland, Ocean Beauty’s Vice President of Marketing. Renton is ideal for both production and distribution, because it has great access to I-5 and the Eastside, and it’s near the airport.”
Finally, a new budget proposal from the Trump Administration could kill the National Sea Grant this year. According to a federal budget plan circulated this week, the remaining $30 million in funding earmarked for the national Sea Grant program in the current fiscal year would be terminated. Sea Grant was prepared to fight to retain its federal funding after the White House released a budget blueprint for the next fiscal year that zeroes out the marine research and education program, but this new plan would cut funds for the current year.
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