Walmart is Suing BJ’s Wholesale Claiming it Stole Self-Checkout Technology

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Big box retailer Walmart and its big-box warehouse subsidiary Sam’s Club are suing BJ’s Wholesale, claiming that the company has stolen the technology that powers a popular self-checkout option in the Sam’s Club mobile app.

Walmart and Sam’s Club accused rival retailer BJ’s Wholesale Club of the theft in a lawsuit filed in a District Court in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday.

In the lawsuit, Walmart claims BJ’s launched a self-checkout feature in its mobile app that’s nearly identical to Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go.

Scan & Go has become more popular since the Covid-19 pandemic began in the U.S. in early 2020, allowing shoppers to use social distancing and do contactless checkout.

The suit claims Walmart worked for years to develop Scan & Go, a feature that lets Sam’s Club customers ring up purchases on their smartphones while walking through the store, allowing them to avoid a checkout line.

The suit also argues that Walmart holds multiple patents protecting the intellectual property for the self-checkout feature, which debuted in 2016.

Walmart alleges its “innovations were simply taken without permission” by BJ’s, which launched its contactless offering, ExpressPay, in late 2021.

“Express Pay is an apparent copy of Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go, merely changing the in-app colors and changing the name from Scan & Go to Express Pay,” the lawsuit reads.

As a result, the suit claims, BJ’s has infringed on Walmart’s patent rights, causing “significant damages and irreparable harm.”

Walmart and BJ’s both declined to comment on the suit, which was first reported by Bloomberg Law.

Sam’s Club does not disclose customer data, but Walmart said the retailer’s membership hit a record high in the fourth quarter.

Disclaimer: We have no position in any of the companies mentioned and have not been compensated for this article.