Giant Eagle sued over Fuelperks program

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A firm that said it helped to manage Giant Eagle's Fuelperks program sued the grocer late Friday, alleging breach of duties, patent infringement and unfair competition.

Excentus Corp., a Dallas company, said in the complaint that in 2002, it licensed software to Giant Eagle to manage Fuelperks, which allows the grocer's shoppers to get discounts on gas bought from the related GetGo chain.

Giant Eagle was impressed with Excentus' expansion plans, according to the complaint, and invested in the firm, gaining two seats on its board.

But Giant Eagle used another vendor, Blackhawk Network, to help with its gift card program, according to the complaint. Relations between Giant Eagle and Excentus soured, and they could not agree on how to expand the program, according to the complaint.

Excentus attorney Jeremy A. Mercer wrote in the complaint that the Giant Eagle executives have breached their duties as Excentus board members, and the grocer has infringed on Excentus' patents.

Giant Eagle said Excentus' claims are substantially similar to those in a suit Excentus filed in Texas that were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. "We believe that the recent claims are wholly without merit, and our expectation is that they will be dismissed in this instance as well," the company said.

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