Buc-ee’s, the popular Texas gas station known for its spacious travel centers (and clean bathrooms), sued a potential competitor this week, alleging its similar name would be trademark infringement if it opened stores in Texas.
Bucky’s, a Midwest-based chain, has locations in the Omaha, St. Louis and Chicago metro areas but plans to expand to Texas with six locations in the Houston area, according to the complaint filed by Buc-ee’s in federal court Tuesday.
Bucky’s, the complaint said, would result in “susbstantial overlap with Buc-ee’s current customer base” in Texas, creating “a strong likelihood of confusion” between the two stores.
Doing so, Buc-ee’s alleged, would be intentional and allow Bucky’s “to gain acceptance for its products based not on its own merits” but through an association with Buc-ee’s.
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A lawyer for Bucky’s told KHOU-TV in Houston that the store has operated under the same name for about 30 years and that the company was unaware of Buc-ee’s complaint.
But the legal battle between the two companies goes back 11 years, when both filed for trademarks months apart, according to the Houston Chronicle.
An agreement was reached that Buc-ee’s could use its name because the companies’ markets were far enough apart, the newspaper reported.
Now, with the agreement apparently at risk, Buc-ee’s “must take action to ensure that our brand integrity remains intact,” Beaver Aplin, Buc-ee’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement to the Chronicle.
Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982 in Lake Jackson, south of Houston. Last May, the company opened a 60,000-square-foot travel center in far north Fort Worth, its 25th location but first in Tarrant County.
The opening was met with plenty of fanfare: By the time the doors opened at 6 a.m., dozens of people were waiting to get inside.