BJ’s Wholesale says judge should dismiss Walmart’s lawsuit over self-service app

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

“Nothing about Scan & Go Sam’s Club processes is inventive or unconventional; indeed, many other retailers provide a self-service option for their customers,” the company said in court on Friday. It states that the mere addition of a smartphone and Bluetooth does not give rise to patents.

Rival warehouse clubs, Sam’s Club and Walmart-owned BJ’s, are embroiled in litigation over the technology, which has become a valuable differentiator for Sam’s Club, especially as attendance soared and membership reached an all-time high during the pandemic. Scan & Go starred in a Super Bowl commercial featuring comedian Kevin Hart. It’s now a key perk that subscribers get when they join Walmart+, the company’s membership program and its response to Amazon Prime.

Scan & Go allows shoppers to shop on their smartphones while walking through the store, allowing them to skip the line at the checkout. The feature debuted in 2016 but gained popularity as shoppers looked for contactless payment options during the spread of Covid.

Walmart sued BJ last month, alleging that a competitor stole technology from Scan & Go by rolling out a nearly identical app in late 2021.

“Express Pay is a clear copy of Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go, it just changes the colors in the app and changes its name from Scan & Go to Express Pay,” the complaint said in March.

Walmart added in the lawsuit that BJ is infringing on its patents and causing “significant damage and irreparable harm.”

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding BJ’s lawsuit.

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