Giant Eagle, Excentus Resolve Fuelperks! Lawsuit
DALLAS and PITTSBURGH — A lawsuit filed in 2013 by loyalty marketing provider Excentus Corp. against Giant Eagle Inc. over sales of up to $1 billion tied to the Pittsburgh-based retailer’s popular fuelperks! gas discount program has been resolved.
The case was dismissed with prejudice by agreement of the parties.
"We are pleased that the lawsuit and charges brought by Excentus against Giant Eagle, me and my brother David Shapira have been resolved to our satisfaction, releasing both us individually and Giant Eagle from this matter," Giant Eagle special counsel Dan Shapira said.
In its 2013 filing with the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Dallas-based Excentus charged that Giant Eagle infringed on its patents. Excentus said it provided software to run the fuelperks! program and alleged that Giant Eagle never obtained a license to use its technology despite a decade-long business relationship between the two companies.
The lawsuit said Giant Eagle began talking to Excentus in 2001 about a gas loyalty rewards program and “was so impressed with the Excentus technology and future plans” that it became one of Excentus’ largest shareholders after investments in 2004 and 2005.
David Shapira, Giant Eagle’s executive chairman, and Dan Shapira, one of the owners of the privately held company, joined the Excentus board. The relationship deteriorated when Giant Eagle allegedly didn't share information, including details about its growing gift card sales tied to fuelperks!, according to published reports. By 2008, Giant Eagle’s sales of other retailers' gift cards promoted through fuelperks! reached $500 million to $1 billion, Excentus said in the lawsuit.
“While continuing to use the Excentus patents without a license, Giant Eagle also threatened to form its own coalition through use of its gift card sales” to compete with Excentus’ plan, the plaintiff alleged.
Excentus asked the court to force Giant Eagle to turn over profit earned as a result.
With the near two-year matter behind it, David Shapira said he is looking forward to a fresh start with Excentus and a renewed focus on future growth opportunities.
“With new management at Excentus, and with this litigation behind us, we are eager to direct our full focus toward implementing a successful go-forward strategy with our long-time partner," he said.
Brandon Logsdon, Excentus’ current president and CEO, added: “We now have the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of our two organizations to continue building toward our mutual goal — bringing valuable rewards to our customers and members nationwide. We have done business with Giant Eagle for many years, and we are very pleased that our strategic relationship will continue to evolve and expand.”
Giant Eagle is a multi-format retailer with more than 400 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia and Maryland. The company operates GetGo convenience stores.