Walmart and Sam’s Club have accused rival BJ’s Wholesale Club of stealing the technology in their mobile self-checkout app and have filed a federal lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in Orlando, FL. The app in question, Scan & Go, allows Sam’s Club customers to scan items with their mobile phone and avoid lengthy checkout lines. The service debuted in 2016 and Walmart holds multiple patents for the technology.

Scan & Go became a crucial feature when the pandemic arrived in 2020. Shoppers began relying on contactless payment options and social distancing. The entire supermarket industry saw a surge in traffic and sales. Many chains were left scrambling to produce digital options to better fit their consumers’ needs. Sam’s Club had a ready-made solution that gave them an advantage in the marketplace. It was inevitable that competitors would look to replicate their success.

BJ’s launched their contactless purchasing app, Express Pay, at the end of 2021. Walmart’s lawsuit claims, “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.” Neither company has commented on the lawsuit.