BJ’s Wholesale says the judge should throw the Walmart case over the self-checkout app

Warehouse club BJ’s Wholesale is urging a federal judge to drop a patent case filed by Walmart, saying the retail giant is trying to protect a self-checkout app based on technology that retailers have been using for more than a decade.

“Nothing about Sam’s Clubs Scan & Go processes is inventive or untraditional; yes, many other retailers offer a self-checkout option to their customers,” the company said in a lawsuit Friday. That said, just adding a smartphone and Bluetooth does not make it eligible for patents.

The rival stock clubs, Walmart-owned Sam’s Club and BJ’s, are involved in lawsuits over a piece of technology that has become a valued differentiator for Sam’s Club, especially as its foot traffic has grown and membership has hit record highs during the pandemic. Scan & Go appeared in a Super Bowl ad featuring comedian Kevin Hart. This is now an important benefit that subscribers get when they sign up for Walmart +, the company’s membership program and its response to Amazon Prime.

Scan & Go allows customers to make purchases on their smartphones as they walk through the store, allowing them to avoid a checkout queue. The feature debuted in 2016, but gained popularity as shoppers sought contactless ways to check out during the spread of Covid.

Walmart and Sam’s Club sued BJ’s last month, alleging that the competitor had stolen technology from Scan & Go by rolling out an almost identical app by the end of 2021.

“Express Pay is an apparent copy of Sam’s Clubs Scan & Go that simply changes the colors of the app and changes the name from Scan & Go to Express Pay,” the complaint said in March.

Walmart added in the lawsuit that BJ’s infringed their patents and caused “significant damage and irreparable damage.”

Through a spokesman, Walmart said it will consider BJ’s proposal to reject through court.

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