Walmart ordered to pay startup $115 million for trade secret infringement

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,579 views 

Ecoark, formerly based in Rogers, and its associated company Zest Labs have won a verdict against Walmart for $115 million handed down April 9 by U.S. District Court Judge James Moody, in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The jury award to Zest Labs and Ecoark included $60 million in compensatory damages and another $55 million in exemplary damages on the claim of breach and misappropriation of trade mark secrets.

Ecoark sued Walmart in August 2018 after Walmart filed two patents on technology to improvement the freshness of produce. Ecoark claimed it shared information with Walmart between 2014 and 2017 during a pilot of Zest Labs, a subsidiary of Ecoark. The plaintiffs claimed Walmart stole its technology that prolongs shelf life of produce.

Walmart provided the following statement regarding the verdict: “Walmart values its business relationships and respects the intellectual property rights of others. We have policies in place to prevent the inappropriate use of third-party assets. We believe the jury’s verdict is excessive, not supported by the facts and should be set aside. We plan to file post-trial motions and are considering our next steps.”