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Walmart Is Suing This Grocery Chain For Stealing Technology

The "innovations were simply taken without permission" the lawsuit says.

Lots of innovations inside grocery stores have been introduced in the last few years, from Amazon and Whole Foods' Just Walk Out technology to smart carts being used now in several supermarket chains. But one major retailer has filed a lawsuit against another for allegedly stealing one of their new features.

Earlier this week Walmart filed paperwork suing BJ's Wholesale Club accusing it of stealing the self-checkout option available on its Sam's Club app that it worked on perfecting for years, according to CNBC.

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The Sam's Club Scan & Go feature launched in 2016, and BJ's allegedly almost identical version called ExpressPay became available 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," Walmart says.

The lawsuit also states that Walmart's "innovations were simply taken without permission" by BJ's despite multiple patents on the technology and now it is suing for "significant damage and irreparable harm."

Sam's Club Scan & Go
Courtesy of Sam's Club

Sam's Club members started really taking advantage of the technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading Walmart to recently adopt it for Walmart+ subscribers. To use it shoppers open the app, scan the item's barcode or search for it using the "Find an item" feature, pay once they are done, and show a digital receipt on the way out of the warehouse to an employee who scans it. It also works at Sam's Club gas stations.

BJ's ExpressPay
Courtesy of BJ's

On its website BJ's says its ExpressPay option can be used by selecting "In-Club Mode" on its app, scanning the item's barcode and adding it to your cart, paying on the app, and showing the code on the way out.

Neither Walmart nor BJ's has responded to Eat This, Not That!'s requests for comment.

The news of the lawsuit comes as BJ's is gearing up to open new warehouses across the country in Michigan, Florida, and other states.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda