Company Says Domino’s Stole Driver-Tracking Tech

     SAN MATEO, Calif. (CN) — Domino’s Pizza faces a $115 million lawsuit over claims it sliced the chief piece out of a 10-year GPS driver tracking project.
     Prostar Wireless Group hit the world’s second largest pizza chain with the multimillion lawsuit Monday in San Mateo County Superior Court, over claims including misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition.
     Prostar, a wireless service company that offers custom-design software, says it began meeting with Domino’s franchise owners in the middle of 2006 to develop a driver GPS tracking and navigation product.
     According to the complaint, Domino’s encouraged Prostar to create a mobile-based GPS delivery driver tracking solution that could be presented at its annual Domino’s Franchise Association convention.
     Prostar says it presented the initial product at Domino’s 2007 convention in Florida.
     Encouraged by franchise owners’ positive response, Prostar says it continued working on improving the product.
     Franchise owners wanted a product with driver dispatch and tracking, turn-by-turn route navigation, fuel location information, credit card processing, idle time reporting, and other store operation features. Prostar presented a comprehensive prototype to numerous franchises in 2009, according to the complaint.
     After Domino’s made it clear it would roll the Prostar product out to locations worldwide if it could create a delivery system that met the needs of all franchises, Prostar began to focus solely on fine-tuning the product at the expense of other business opportunities, the lawsuit states.
     Prostar spent the next few years testing more than 80 versions of software to conform to Domino’s demands before it once again presenting it at the Dominos World Wide Rally convention in March 2012.
     Citing legal liability issues, Domino’s promised it would roll out the product to more than 12,600 locations if Prostar improved the product so it could measure a driver’s speed by the agreed-upon deadlines, the lawsuit states.
     Prostar says it was finally able to conduct a limited rollout of its product in several Domino’s locations in early 2014 after it made adjustments to how the product’s reporting was relayed as Domino’s Pizza representative Mathew Walls had requested.
     According to the lawsuit, Prostar continued to try and meet Dominos demands by adding a safety alert feature after Tim Erb, Domino’s western regional director of safety and loss prevention, said the product had to have some sort of security alert in the event a driver needed assistance if abducted or sexually assaulted.
     Acting on Domino’s continued assurance that its product would soon be rolled out, Prostar says it also entered a wholesale relationship with Verizon which would have allowed Domino’s franchises to get a better price on hardware and software packages at home and internationally. The partnership with Verizon required Prostar to agree to a financial commitment and to have its own representatives complete a training program.
     Prostar says it also agreed to meet the challenge of beating Pizza Hut — which was also implementing a similar driver-tracking system — to market. Meanwhile, Domino’s marketing team promised Prostar access to a franchise member-generated multimillion-dollar pool of funds to cover any expenses needed to hasten the completion of the rollout, according to the lawsuit.
     The company says it became aware of serious signs of trouble at a meeting in July 2015, when Domino’s asked Prostar to explain in writing exactly how it would complete its rollout plan.
     Several weeks after Prostar provided its first draft of how to roll out the plan it had been working on for 10 years, Domino’s told Prostar it was going to develop its own solution and “would pay Prostar nothing,” the lawsuit says.
     Prostar says it attempted to salvage the situation by providing a 57-page detailed description of its system to Domino’s digital experience program manager Aaron Nilsson, after he suggested they could “still play a role in the nationwide rollout.” But by the end of 2015, Domino’s stopped all communications with Prostar, according to the complaint.
     The company wants a judge to bar Domino’s from using and keeping Prostar’s proprietary information, as well as $115 million in compensatory damages.
     Prostar is represented by Darius Ogloza and Micah Nash of the San Francisco firm Ogloza Fortney.
     An email to Domino’s public relations department seeking comment was not returned by press time.

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