- By Gary Dinges American-Statesman Staff
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 Buc-ee’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 Buc-ee’s trademark,” according to the suit.
“Bucky’s unauthorized activities are likely to weaken or otherwise jeopardize Buc-ee’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.”
Claiming there is a “substantial likelihood that Buc-ee’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.