Walmart Inc. has filed a lawsuit against BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. over its mobile Express Pay shopping app. The suit alleges that the app infringes upon features of the Scan & Go technology introduced by Walmart subsidiary Sam’s Club in 2016 and adopted by Walmart in 2018. The suit was filed on March 22, 2022 by Sam’s West Inc., Walmart Apollo, LLC against BJ’s in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The Scan & Go technology was introduced to afford an easier shopping experience to customers through scanning and bagging items as they shop, eventually checking out and paying with their mobile devices. In the complaint, Walmart said that BJ’s app, which launched in late 2021, infringes on four of its patents. The company is seeking payment for damages incurred from the alleged copying of its technology, according to media reports. The news was first reported by Bloomberg Law.
Cashierless checkout technologies, including these types of apps as well as those powered by computer vision that don’t require scanning barcodes, rose in popularity among consumers concerned about sanitary and health issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic in November 2020, Capgemini reported that 84% of consumers relied on touchless technology to avoid physical contact in stores. Even as vaccination rates rose and COVID-19 regulations began to relax, these technologies have remained popular.