Walmart’s “Eden” technology, intended to preserve fresh produce for longer, may not be its own.
On Wednesday, Silicon Valley company Zest Labs and its parent company Ecoark Holdings filed a $2 billion lawsuit against Walmart, accusing the retailer of stealing its technology. It claims that Eden “looks, sounds, and functions” like its own Zest Fresh technology.
The company further claims that Walmart (WMT) had been working with it on Zest Fresh for years, before the retailer reportedly lost interest last November, reports Reuters. In March, Walmart announced the rollout of Eden, which it claimed to have developed throughout a six month internal hackathon.
The complaint accuses Walmart of using its “years of unfettered access to plaintiff’s trade secrets, proprietary information, and know-how to steal the Zest Fresh technology and misappropriate it for Walmart’s benefit.” Zest says Walmart has estimated that it could save $2 billion with Eden over five years, and hopes to recover these savings for Walmart’s “theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, breach of contract, and other wrongdoing.”
Walmart plans to respond in court. The retailer’s spokesman, Randy Hargrove, told Reuters that it “respect[s] the intellectual property rights of others.”