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HP sued by Wex for trademark infringement over 'Wex' software

A screen displays the logo for HP Inc. at the NYSE in New York

By Blake Brittain

(Reuters) - Software company Wex Inc sued HP Inc for trademark infringement in Maine federal court on Thursday, accusing it of misusing the "Wex" name to brand competing HP software.

Wex, which specializes in payment-processing and information-management applications, said that HP's recently announced "HP Wex" workforce-management platform will confuse customers.

Confusion is likely given "the similarities between the software, fleet and data management, and employee solutions offered by Wex on the one hand, and the 'Wex'-branded software, fleet and data management, and employee solutions offered by HP on the other," the lawsuit said.

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Wex asked for unspecified monetary damages and an order forcing HP to stop using the "Wex" name.

Representatives for HP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint.

Wex spokesperson Jessica Roy said in a statement that HP's use of "Wex" will "inevitably sow confusion in the marketplace" and that the company filed the complaint "to prevent harm to our brand."

Wex offers software for corporate payments, managing vehicle fleets and administering employee benefit plans. The Portland, Maine-based company, which formerly specialized in fuel cards for the trucking industry and was known as Wright Express, changed its name to Wex in 2012.

Palo Alto, California-headquartered HP announced its "HP Wex" information-technology "workforce experience platform" in March. Wex said in the lawsuit that HP adopted the name "either knowingly or in reckless disregard of Wex's incontestable trademark rights."

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington, Editing by Franklin Paul)