HOUSTON, TEXAS – On September 2, 2022, The Texas Supreme Court issued an Order denying Booster Fuels, Inc.’s (“Booster Fuels”) Petition for Review, which sought to shut down a lawsuit filed by Instafuel, LLC (“Instafuel”) alleging that Booster Fuels stole its trade secrets and committed fraud. This will effectively lift a three-year stay on the case and finally allow the parties to litigate the underlying claims.
Established in 2015 and founded by two young, creative entrepreneurs, Instafuel is an innovative company that delivers fuel directly to customer vehicles, eliminating the need for consumers to spend time at gas stations. While there are a number of competitors in the mobile fuel delivery industry, Instafuel has successfully differentiated themselves by taking several measures to create a unique business model.
Similarly, Booster Fuels is a mobile fueling company that began with an initial business model of delivering fuel to single customers. However, recently, Booster Fuels pivoted its business model to more closely mirror Instafuel’s practices of delivering fuel to commercial fleets.
In 2015, Instafuel engaged with an investment entity interested in a potential business partnership. This partnership included the disclosure of trade secrets and confidential information pertaining to Instafuel’s business model and company practices. In 2019, it was later discovered that these investors were strategic investors with Booster Fuels.
After further review, an internal audit and competitive analysis of Booster Fuels’ business model was conducted by Instafuel, only to discover that Booster Fuels implemented Instafuel’s sensitive and confidential information directly into their own business model. This would allow Booster Fuels to secure funding faster and expand into competitive markets ahead of Instafuel.
Shortly after Instafuel filed suit against Booster Fuels in late 2019, Booster Fuels moved to dismiss the claims based on Texas’s Anti-SLAPP statute. In motions filed with the trial court, Booster Fuels claimed Instafuel’s suit should be dismissed because it was filed “with the intent to impede Booster Fuels’ exercise of its First Amendment rights, specifically its rights to freely associate and freely speak with whomever it so chooses…”
In responding to Booster Fuels motion to dismiss, Instafuel asserted that communications between co-conspirators to steal confidential and proprietary information was not the kind of speech protected by the First Amendment.
The trial court found in favor of Instafuel and denied Booster Fuels’ motion to dismiss. Booster Fuels then immediately filed an interlocutory appeal, effectively staying the entire case. After two years, on January 11, 2022, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming the trial court’s denial of Booster Fuels’ motion to dismiss.
Discontent with the appellate court’s ruling against it, Booster Fuels appealed the appellate court’s decision to the Supreme Court of Texas on March 28, 2022.
The latest ruling from the Texas Supreme Court on August 2, 2022 comes as a huge relief to Instafuel’s Co-Founder, Wisam Nahhas. “This has been a very long process and Booster Fuels has tried their best to constantly delay our lawsuit. We hope to see an end to their delay tactics and hope we can get the justice Instafuel deserves.”
Litigation Partner, Lema Barazi, serves as lead counsel in this matter with Feras Mousilli serving as strategic counsel. Lloyd & Mousilli is proud to serve as counsel for companies like Instafuel to prevail against egregious and predatory business practices.
Lloyd & Mousilli is a boutique firm specializing in trademark, copyright, trade secret, and patent litigation and transactional matters and represents numerous startups around the world.
“We are proud to be the law firm clients call on when David is bullied by Goliath-sized companies. Our expertise in intellectual property matters rivals the best in the nation and we are staunch advocates of protecting small businesses,” said Feras Mousilli, managing partner at Lloyd & Mousilli.
The case is Instafuel v. Booster Fuels, Inc., case number 2019-57856.
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