A marketing company that is almost unknown in credit card circles is challenging six of the industry's heavyweights with patent infringement lawsuits.

In two suits fried in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, Ill., Meridian Enterprises Corp. of St. Louis contends that a patent it obtained in 1991 for a product called MeridiCard has been violated by a certain type of cardholder rebate program.

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