Wex, the global payment processing company based in Portland, is suing Hewlett Packard for copyright infringement over a new product the information technology company is launching and calling WEX. 

The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, says that HP announced the launch of its “Workforce Experience Platform” – or WEX – a fleet management software tool that has features that are similar to what Wex provides.

The companies both aim to supply businesses with innovative solutions to everyday workforce problems and they both promote their software as being customer-driven, providing data, assisting in fleet management, increasing productivity, using AI and reducing friction, Wex said in a news release.

In the lawsuit, Wex said that HP’s new platform also targets similar industries including automotive companies, financial institutions, major oil companies and even federal and state governments – including the state of Maine, which has contracts with both companies. 

This screenshot included in a federal court filing shows Hewlett-Packard’s artificial intelligence-powered platform called WEX. A Maine-based payment processing company, also called WEX, has sued HP for copyright infringement. Screenshot via U.S. District Court filing

Wex said HP’s use of the WEX acronym will create confusion in the marketplace, either leading consumers to believe that the two companies are partnered, that HP has acquired Wex, or simply causing customers to confuse the two. 

According to the lawsuit, it’s already happened in financial media outlets, even though HP has not yet launched its platform. 


“Wex brings this lawsuit to protect consumers, businesses and investors from being deceived by HP’s theft of Wex’s name and attempt to co-opt the reputation and goodwill that Wex has earned through decades of hard work,” the company said in the court filing. 

Jessica Roy, vice president of financial communications at Wex, said in a statement that the lawsuit is an attempt to protect the company’s brand. 

Wex said it tried to resolve the dispute directly with HP but that the tech company was unwilling to change course. Wex is seeking a preliminary injunction to force HP to discontinue infringing on the WEX trademark. 

“HP could have chosen from nearly limitless alternatives instead of misappropriating the arbitrary WEX trademark. HP’s decision—either with knowledge of Wex’s trademark rights, or with inexcusable ignorance of Wex’s many incontestable trademark registrations – is an unacceptable attempt by HP to leverage Wex’s heritage of customer trust as a way of keeping up with its Silicon Valley competitors,” the lawsuit says. “Any bad news about HP – like the many negative comments on its social media accounts, @hp on Instagram, or a potential data breach – would be devastatingly and unfairly associated with Wex.”

The company said that HP is also seeking to trademark the standalone word “WEX.” 

Maine’s Wex has been using the name since 1989, when it was still known as Wright Express Corporation and formally rebranded to WEX in 2012. 

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