Wal-Mart Sues Kmart

Jul 18, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Wal-Mart says Kmart has infringed on a patent it was granted for its checkout bag carousel so it is taking its smaller rival to court in Delaware.

A spokesperson for Wal-Mart, Tom Williams, told The Associated Press, “We’re both Delaware companies, and we thought it was a neutral area to get a fair hearing. The suit is a patent issue and that carousel device, as we have it, has been patented.”

Wal-Mart has its patented carousels in 1,500 of its stores. Kmart’s figure, say industry sources, is less than 30 stores.

Kmart is withholding comment on the suit at this time.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to the patent
infringement suit Wal-Mart has brought against Kmart?

On the surface, the need for this suit is questionable.
Wal-Mart and Kmart are not the only retailers that use bag carousels at the
front-end. We’ve seen Wal-Mart’s and others and have not noticed one
system having a clear advantage over the other.

That said, protecting patents, copyrights, trademarks,
etc. is a serious and important business that needs pursuing. It’s just
unfortunate the two companies couldn’t simply discuss Wal-Mart’s concerns
and try to come to a resolution without tying up the courts and spending dollars
on lawyers that would be better invested elsewhere.[George
Anderson – Moderator

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