Walmart and its big-box warehouse subsidiary Sam’s Club accused rival retailer BJ’s Wholesale Club in a lawsuit filed Tuesday of stealing technology that powers a popular self-checkout option in the Sam’s Club mobile app.
The suit, filed in federal court, 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.
It also notes that Walmart holds multiple patents protecting the intellectual property for the self-checkout feature, which debuted in 2016. Scan & Go has become more popular since the Covid-19 pandemic began in the U.S. in early 2020 as shoppers adopted social distancing and contactless checkout.
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 says.