Walmart has filed a lawsuit against its big-box rival BJ’s Wholesale, alleging that it stole the self-checkout technology it uses in its Sam’s Club wholesale warehouse chain.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Orlando, Florida, Walmart claimed that BJ’s Express Pay function in its mobile app represents a patent infringement on Walmart’s Scan & Go mobile app that is used in its Sam’s Club stores. The Scan & Go function allows shoppers to scan products while in the store and make payments on their phone instead of waiting on line to check out.
BJ’s Express Pay program, which launched in its app in 2021, also allows customers to scan barcodes while shopping and then skip the checkout line while paying in the app.
“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,” Walmart alleges in the suit.
According to Walmart, the Scan & Go application that rolled out in 2016 had been in development for several years. Walmart also pointed to various patents that it says should protect the intellectual property of the mobile feature.
“Sam’s Club and Walmart invested significant time, effort, and resources to develop the technology, including investing in and seeking patent protection on the inventions,” Walmart claimed in the suit.
Walmart and BJ’s both declined to comment.
Walmart operates almost 600 Sam’s Clubs locations in the U.S and Puerto Rico and often tests new technologies across the wholesale chain. Scan & Go is currently available in Walmart locations for shoppers who are a part of the company’s Walmart+ subscription program.
Walmart recently announced a goal to hire more than 50,000 workers to staff its U.S. stores, offices and supply chain facilities in the first quarter. Walmart also said it would hire more than 5,000 global tech associates in 2022 and add tech hubs in Toronto and Atlanta.