Walmart sues BJ's, alleging the members-only warehouse chain ripped off its self-checkout technology

Walmart sues BJ's, alleging the members-only warehouse chain ripped off its self-checkout technology
Walmart has filed a lawsuit against BJ's.Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images and John Paraskevas/Newsday RM via Getty Images
  • Walmart has sued BJ's Wholesale Club over checkout technology.
  • The Arkansas-based retailer filed suit in the Middle District of Florida on Tuesday.

Walmart and BJ's are embroiled in a legal spat over self-checkout technology.

On Tuesday, Walmart filed suit against BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. through its patent-holding subsidiaries, Sam's West, Inc. and Walmart Apollo, LLC. The lawsuit was filed in the Middle District of Florida.

Major players in the retail field have expanded on mobile checkout capabilities and other contactless shopping options, spurred on in part by safety concerns during the pandemic. But in this case, friction between competitors over similar offerings has spilled into the courtroom.

In its complaint, Walmart's legal team claimed that the company has "pioneered novel methods for effectuating a faster, easier, and more convenient, check-out processes for retail customers" through a series of patented technological advancements around allowing customers to checkout using their phones. Walmart's legal team also wrote that BJ's upended "years of hard work" by stealing the Arkansas-based company's "innovations."

These innovations took the form of four patents filed from 2018 to 2020, which were described in detail in a number exhibits filed by Walmart's legal team. Sam's Club initially began featuring its Scan & Go capability on its mobile app in 2016. Walmart alleged that BJ's introduced its Express Pay service onto its mobile app in late 2021.


"Express Pay is strikingly similar to Sam's Club's Scan & Go, offering nearly identical functionality," Walmart's legal team wrote in the lawsuit. "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."

BJ's has not yet filed any motions in the case. BJ's also did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. When asked for additional comment, Walmart directed Insider back to its complaint.

In its suit, Walmart asked the court to award it unspecified damages, with its legal team saying that the company suffered "irreparable injury." The Arkansas-based company also asked the court to bar BJ's from continuing to infringe on the patents.