Walmart hit with $2B lawsuit over technology holdup

Image Source: KCCI

Aug 3, 2018

Ecoark Holdings, parent company of Zest Labs has filed a civil suit of $2 billion against Walmart, claiming the retailer has stolen its technology that extends the shelf life of produce. According to the company it had demonstrated its Zest Fresh cold-chain management technology to Walmart executives in 2014 with a confidentiality agreement.

Walmart eventually lost interest in this technology and suddenly this year it released a solution called Eden that Zest claims “looks, sounds, and functions” just like its technology. Walmart claimed it developed Eden through a six-month of hard work and research involving its own engineers.

The complaint reads that Walmart used its years of unregulated access to plaintiffs’ trade secrets, proprietary information, and know-how to steal the Zest Fresh technology and misappropriate it for Walmart’s own benefit.

The $2 billion in damages demanded by the lawsuit may look opportunistic, but the number is Walmart’s own estimate at savings on food waste — and could presumably be part of the income Zest Labs would have received through licensing their technology to Walmart. It’s also not so significant in the context of Walmart, which reported $122.7 billion in revenue in its most recent quarterly earnings report.

According to Walmart it respects the intellectual property rights of others and is taking this issue seriously and once they receive the complaint, they will respond appropriately with the court.

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