What’s in a name? Buc-ee’s vs. Bucky’s

Con­ve­nience stores sue in­com­ing ri­val Bucky’s over sim­i­lar moniker.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Gary Dinges gdinges@states­man.com

Pop­u­lar Texas-based Buc-ee’s is su­ing the Ne­braska-based Bucky’s chain of gas sta­tions and con­ve­nience stores.

Wel­come to Texas. Now, get the heck out.

That’s not quite what Lake Jack­son-based Buc-ee’s is say­ing to a sim­i­larly named com­peti­tor, but it’s pretty darn close.

In a law­suit filed this week in U.S. District Court, Buc-ee’s ac­cuses Omaha, Neb.-based Bucky’s of trade­mark in­fringe­ment, un­fair com­pe­ti­tion and un­just en­rich­ment, claim­ing the Bucky’s name is “con­fus­ingly sim­i­lar” to the Buc-ee’s name that’s been around th­ese parts for more than three decades.

Both busi­nesses op­er­ate gas sta­tions and con­ve­nience stores. There are more than 30 Buc-ee’s stores — known for their squeaky clean re­strooms and cheeky bill­boards fea­tur­ing a grin­ning beaver — in Texas, in­clud­ing Cen­tral Texas lo­ca­tions in Bas­trop, Gid­dings, New Braun­fels and Tem­ple.

Bucky’s hasn’t set up shop in Texas just yet, the suit says, but it’s about to — and that has Bucee’s wor­ried. The court fil­ing in­di­cates Bucky’s has ac­quired land in Hous­ton and Nas­sau Bay and has worked to ob­tain liquor li­censes from the state and nec­es­sary zon­ing changes.

Within the next year, Bucky’s plans to open six Texas lo­ca­tions, Buc-ee’s says in its court fil­ings.

Bucky’s, which cur­rently has about 80 lo­ca­tions in the Midwest, didn’t re­spond to a mes­sage from the Amer­i­can-States­man seek­ing com­ment.

“Bucky’s ac­tions have and will con­tinue to re­sult in di­rect, sub­stan­tial over­lap with Buc-ee’s cur­rent cus­tomer base ... as well as over­lap be­tween the par­ties’ chan­nels of trade,” the suit says. “Bucky’s ac­tiv­i­ties and use of the term ‘Bucky’s’ is caus­ing ac­tual

con­fu­sion in at least Texas ... and is cre­at­ing a strong like­li­hood of con­fu­sion be­tween Bucky’s and Buc-ee’s.”

Due to its sim­i­lar name, Buc-ee’s con­tends that Bucky’s would “re­ceive the ben­e­fit of the good­will built up at the great la­bor and ex­pense by Buc-ee’s.”Use of the Bucky’s name is also “likely to di­lute the fa­mous, dis­tinc­tive qual­ity of the Bucee’s trade­mark,” ac­cord­ing to the suit.

“Bucky’s unau­tho­rized ac­tiv­i­ties are likely to weaken or oth­er­wise jeop­ar­dize Bucee’s highly valu­able rights,” the suit says.

“Bucky’s use of a mark sim­i­lar to the Buc-ee’s trade­mark has caused and, un­less en­joined, will con­tinue to cause sub­stan­tial and ir­repara­ble in­jury to Buc-ee’s for which Buc-ee’s has no ad­e­quate rem­edy at law,” the suit adds.

Claim­ing there is a “sub­stan­tial like­li­hood that Bucee’s will pre­vail on its claims against Bucky’s,” Buc-ee’s is ask­ing a judge to is­sue an in­junc­tion that would pre­vent Bucky’s from op­er­at­ing in Texas un­der that name.

“Bucky’s un­just en­rich­ment at Buc-ee’s ex­pense has been in­ten­tional,” the suit claims.

Buc-ee’s is also re­quest­ing a jury trial where it is seek­ing “an award of Bucky’s prof­its, Buc-ee’s ac­tual dam­ages, en­hanced dam­ages, ex­em­plary dam­ages, costs, pre-judg­ment and post-judg­ment in­ter­est and rea­son­able at­tor­ney fees.”

A trial date has not been set.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Lake Jack­son-based Buc-ee’s has more than 30 stores in Texas, such as this one on Texas 95 near the in­ter­sec­tion with Texas 71. Bucky’s, a con­ve­nience store chain based in Omaha, Neb., plans to open six lo­ca­tions in Texas, spurring Buc-ee’s to file claims of trade­mark in­fringe­ment and un­fair com­pe­ti­tion.

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