Wal-Mart Patents a Button to Compete With Amazon

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 Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg / Getty Images

The Amazon Dash is famous for being a pragmatic Jetsons-like button. With one push of an internet-connected button bearing the Tide logo (or paper towel, or toilet paper, or condom logo), you order the item, which arrives at your home as quickly as Amazon can get it there.

It turns out America’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer — Wal-Mart — has something to say about it.

Wal-Mart has filed a patent for a button that works exactly like the Amazon Dash to enable customers to more readily order with a button push from Wal-Mart’s inventory, and specifically not Amazon’s. The CB Insights post that first reported the news suggests that Wal-Mart’s logistical ecosystem could fill orders with “less effort.” 

This should be expected. As Amazon dominates the e-commerce retail space, the responsibility falls to other retailers to compete. It certainly bears mentioning companies patent things all the time without any earnest intention to develop the innovation being documented. Apple is notorious for this, having patented everything from a smart bicycle to a snap-together laptop-tablet hybrid. Just because a company wants an idea legally protected doesn’t mean it will actually implement it.

But Wal-Mart stands to win a new audience of button-pushing customers if it can put its own spin on the Amazon Dash button idea.