A federal appeals court ruled that just because Flying J has a licensing agreement giving it access to Comdata's credit car processing network, that doesn't mean Flying J can require merchants to accept proprietary functions on its trucker fleet cards.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit last week affirmed a district court's decision in the matter, involving Comdata's Trendar Network and Flying J's TCH card.

The truckstop and travel group NATSO reports that this is the latest in a long run of litigation involving Flying J and Comdata. Flying J in 1996 sued Comdata, alleging that Comdata's refusal to process the TCH card on Trendar violated antitrust laws. In a settlement agreement in 2001, Comdata agreed to pay $49 million in damages to Flying J and granted Flying J two licenses, including one to process TCH on Trendar.

Following that settlement agreement, NATSO reports, Comdata configured the network to process TCH as a proprietary card, but did so only where merchants consented. Many Flying J competitors chose to not accept the TCH MasterCard as a proprietary card, NATSO notes.