Excentus Sues QuikTrip, Others

Files patent, trademark infringement lawsuit over fuel rewards programs

DALLAS -- Excentus Corp. has filed a patent and trademark infringement lawsuit against QuikTrip Corp., Midax Inc. and several companies operating Price Chopper grocery stores.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri for unspecified damages, alleges among other things that the Chopper Shopper Fuel Rewards program infringes on patents owned by Excentus as well as its federally registered "Fuel Rewards" trademark.

The other companies named in the suit are McKeever Enterprises Inc., Bresette Foods Inc., Four B. Corp., Queen Enterprises LLC, Cosentino Enterprises Inc. and Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.

QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh told CSP Daily Newsthat the Tulsa, Okla.-based retailer "just became aware of the issue and has not had the opportunity to review the allegations; therefore, it is premature to comment" on the suit.

"QuikTrip contacted us regarding obtaining technology and services for the fuel discount loyalty programs they were developing for Price Chopper (Kansas City) and others, and we did our best to work with them to avoid this situation," said Dickson Perry, founder and CEO of Excentus. "Since they have chosen to continue without a license for our patents or our 'Fuel Rewards' trademark, they left us no choice but to file this suit as we are very serious about protecting our intellectual property."

Excentus acquired its initial patent portfolio from AutoGas back in 2008. It has since been awarded additional patents and has numerous patent applications pending at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

In 2009, Excentus filed a similar patent infringement suit against Safeway for its Power Pump Rewards program that was subsequently discontinued by Safeway and the suit was settled in 2010. Soon afterward, Excentus filed a lawsuit against Kroger that alleges among other things patent infringement and theft of trade secrets regarding Kroger's fuel loyalty program. This lawsuit remains pending in Ohio.

Excentus provides loyalty marketing programs, technology and services using fuel discounts as the consumer reward. Through its Fuel Rewards Network program, Centego business unit that offers technology and services to create and operate private-label fuel discount loyalty programs and portfolio of patents, patent application and trademarks, Excentus creates and operates programs using fuel discounts that increase and retain customer loyalty and increase sales by saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars on their fuel purchases. Based in Dallas, Excentus was founded in 1996 and is a privately held company with more than 200 employees and 150 customers in the United States and Canada.