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Excentus Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit against Kroger

IRVING, Texas -- Excentus Corp. filed a lawsuit Tuesday against The Kroger Co. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, alleging willful patent infringement on its fuelperks! rewards program. The lawsuit seeks injunctive and equitable relief along with unspecified damages, according to an report.

"Kroger contacted us in October 2008 immediately following our acquisition of the AutoGas patents. They wanted to resume patent licensing discussions which had occurred with AutoGas prior to Excentus closing the transaction to purchase the AutoGas patents," Dickson Perry, president and CEO of Excentus, said in the report. "We were able to reach a mutual accord with Kroger last year related to our patents and obliged their request for a time to resolve future plans for the Kroger fuel rewards programs. The Kroger fuel rewards programs have varied from market to market. Since then, we have watched Kroger increase its fuel rewards marketing efforts, which included enhancements by Kroger in Safeway's markets. We believe these efforts were deliberate attempts to take advantage of our prior lawsuit against Safeway."

CSNews Online previously reported the lawsuit with Safeway, parent of Tom Thumb convenience stores, settled earlier this year, with the two companies signing a licensing agreement ending the legal disagreement, and opening the opportunity to work together.

Kroger Perry continued in the report: "Kroger has continued to enhance and expand its program by offering the capability to stack multiple fuel rewards together and by offering third party redemption. We felt like we had more than obliged Kroger's request for more time and recently asked that they re-engage with us to enter into a long-term licensing agreement, but based on the reaction we received from Kroger, they left us no other choice but to seek court action to protect our interests."

Additionally, Brandon Logsdon, executive vice president and general manager of Excentus, stated in the report: "We have worked diligently with those interested in resolving past and future issues with our patents as evidenced by our recent agreement with Safeway and our agreements with others. We believe this is further validated by the outstanding working relationships we have with the major fuel marketers and grocery companies in our industry -- including those who participate in our successful fuelperks! rewards program."

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