Discovery has started in a lawsuit filed against Walmart by Zest Labs, a company that specializes in shelf-life extension for fresh produce.

Zest Labs, after a yearslong courtship of Walmart, sued the retail giant when it unveiled its own freshness solution only months after cutting ties with Zest.

The claims against Walmart include violation of the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, unjust enrichment, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, and others.

Zest Labs contends that it provided proprietary information and trade secrets about its technology to Walmart in an effort to demonstrate the value of its product. It believes Walmart improperly utilized that information for the Eden fresh program it announced earlier this year.

“We are pleased that the claims in Zest Labs’ complaint are proceeding to discovery and that the court has set the case for trial in June 2020,” Zest Labs CEO Peter Mehring said in a news release.

Discovery will allow access to documents and testimony from Walmart executives about the activities alleged in the lawsuit, per the release.

Walmart issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit: “Walmart is an intellectual property owner and respects the intellectual property rights of others. We have been served with the complaint and are responding as appropriate with the court.”

 

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