AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Digital Retail Apps (DRA), creator of the mobile self-checkout applications SelfPay® and SelfPay® Staff, filed a complaint yesterday for patent infringement, breach of contract, and unfair competition against HEB Grocery Company LP, in federal court, charging the grocery retailer with developing its own application (HEB Go) using unlicensed DRA technology.
The complaint states that, after presenting itself as a potential customer and signing legal documents allowing it in-depth access to DRA’s sample products, HEB then launched its own competing product using DRA’s ideas and technology. According to the complaint:
- HEB attended a demonstration of the SelfPay apps and met with DRA salespeople in early Oct. 2014;
- HEB employees exchanged emails with DRA and its agents concerning SelfPay in mid-Oct. 2014;
- On Nov. 11, 2015, individuals DRA understood to be an HEB mobile application developer and an HEB application portfolio manager each ordered SelfPay “trial boxes” for more comprehensive investigations of how SelfPay works. In activating the trial boxes, these individuals signed Terms of Agreement documents essentially stating they would not use the technology beyond evaluation unless licensed through DRA.
- On Nov. 12, 2015, in a phone conversation with a DRA salesperson, an HEB representative indicated the grocer might participate in a pilot program for SelfPay
- On Nov. 19, 2015, the individuals associated with HEB engaged the SelfPay trial box and made two sample product “purchases.”
- On Dec. 5, 2017, HEB launched its own competing product, having had no further discussions with DRA.
“I didn’t start DRA to litigate; I did it because I wanted to get my ideas and products for cashier-free retail in the market,” said DRA founder and inventor on the SelfPay patents, Wendy MacKinnon. “It took a lot of time, skill, and hard work to design these products and raise capital to make and market them. We worked with HEB in good faith, but their interest in our product was dishonest. They took our ideas for themselves, violating our patents and their contractual obligations to us.”
MacKinnon filed for patent protection of the SelfPay technology in 2012 and 2013, resulting in U.S. Patent Nos. 8,720,771 and 9,934,506.
SelfPay is advertised as saving shoppers time, allowing them to skip the checkout line by using their own mobile device to scan items, fill a shopping cart, and pay for the items in-app using a variety of supported payment methods, such as credit or debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, and others.
“Our target customers are global chain retailers looking to offer their customers a truly mobile shopping and payment option, direct from the aisle of their physical store,” said MacKinnon.
DRA believes the use of SelfPay increases basket size by as much as 10 percent, by bringing the convenience of online shopping into the spontaneous and often impulse-based in-store environment. SelfPay integrates with retailers' payments and point of sale (POS) systems by interfacing between the shopper's mobile device and the retailer's back-end computer systems and processes.
About Digital Retail Apps
After a career as a retail and consumer technology strategy consultant to Fortune 100 companies, Wendy MacKinnon founded Digital Retail Apps (DRA) in 2012. DRA is a private company that creates and sells the mobile self-checkout applications SelfPay® and SelfPay® Staff. SelfPay gives shoppers a way to skip the checkout line and retailers a simple way to validate digital receipts on exit, assisting with loss prevention and providing a staff audit trail. SelfPay is not another mobile wallet; it’s a better in-store shopper experience. SelfPay is a registered trademark of Digital Retail Apps., Inc.