MOSCOW, September 10 (RAPSI) - Russian oil giant Lukoil’s North American subsidiary was awarded $250,000 in a trademark infringement case filed against a gas station in Pennsylvania, according to the court records obtained by RAPSI on Thursday.
Hillmen Incorporated was in the business of the retail sales of Lukoil motor fuel when it sued Lukoil North America.
Around February 1, 2007, Hillmen claims to have executed a three-year franchise agreement with Lukoil related to the purchase of motor fuel and to the convenience store. The franchise agreement was then allegedly renewed twice, in 2010 and 2013.
The company asserted that while for the first three years it was able to turn a profit on gas sales, “during the second 3-year term, Lukoil began to arbitrarily increase the wholesale prices of gasoline and other fuels primarily for the purpose of increasing its profit margin in a manner not necessarily related to the cost of producing said fuel.”
Eventually Hillmen claimed that it could no longer raise his retail prices while remaining competitive as Lukoil wholesale prices continued to rise. As such, it began losing money on gas sales.
The complaint asserted: “The actions of Lukoil in unreasonably inflating its wholesale prices constituted an attempt to drive Plaintiff out of business by forcing it to pay inflated prices for gasoline.”
In a letter dated April 3, 2013, Lukoil notified Hillmen that the agreement had been terminated.
Accordingly, Hillmen sued Lukoil for violation of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act, breach of contract, violation of the Uniform Commercial Code, and fraud.
Lukoil filed a counterclaim alleging trademark infringement. It claimed that the gas station continued to operate as a franchise although it was no longer a franchise.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in June in favor of Lukoil North America granting a motion for summary judgment.