WALMART and its subsidiary Sam’s Club have accused a rival wholesaler of stealing self-checkout technology in a new lawsuit.
The patent lawsuit filed in March alleges that BJ’s Wholesale Club copied an app called Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go that allows customers to skip lines by calling their purchases as they walk through the store.
A month later, BJ’s appealed to a federal judge, saying the technology, which has become an integral part of Sam’s Club’s business, was not unique enough to warrant a patent.
“There is nothing inventive or unconventional about Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go processes; in fact, many other retailers offer their customers a self-checkout option,” BJ’s said in Friday’s court filing.
BJ’s sparked controversy when it also launched a contactless offering called ExpressPay in late 2021.
The defending big-box retailer said transferring this technology to a smartphone and Bluetooth doesn’t qualify it for a patent, CNBC reported.
However, the lawsuit, first released by Bloomberg Law, alleges that Walmart holds multiple patents related to the self-checkout feature that launched in 2016.
The contactless option launched in 2020 due to Covid-19 and has had a direct impact on record high membership during the pandemic, according to CNBC.
Scan & Go was even featured in a Super Bowl commercial starring Kevin Hart.
Walmart claims that BJ’s ExpressPay option caused “substantial damage and irreparable damage” to its patents and business.
“Express Pay is an apparent copy of Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go, simply changing the colors in the app and changing the name from Scan & Go to Express Pay,” Walmart said in a complaint in March.
A spokesman for Walmart told CNBC that it would consider BJ’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit in court.
BJ’s Wholesale Club is a members-only warehouse club chain that exists primarily on the East Coast.
Both companies boomed during the pandemic as Americans sought to bulk-buy supplies like toilet paper.
The US Sun has reached out to Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale Club for comment on the lawsuit.
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