Today Instacart sued Cornershop, which Uber bought a majority stake in last year, alleging that Cornershop stole product images and other intellectual property.
The Information was first to report on the lawsuit, with reporter Amir Efrati tweeting out the following:
According to Bloomberg:
Instacart claimed Cornershop stole copyrighted images and modified the file names in order to conceal the alleged theft. Instacart also said Cornershop posted job listings for software engineers with “advanced scraping” and other skills indicating that taking and reusing content is part of a company-mandated effort, according to the complaint.
Instacart’s lawsuit comes on the heels of Uber announcing earlier this month that it was expanding grocery delivery into the U.S. through its Cornershop unit.
Grocery e-commerce has seen record sales over the past few months in the U.S., spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. With the coronavirus negatively impacting Uber’s ridesharing business, the company’s ability to diversify its revenues has become more important. Uber also this month announced that it was acquiring rival third-party delivery service, Postmates.
We’ll be following this story as it progresses, but its clear that Instacart, which has raised more than $2 billion in funding, will actively protect its grocery delivery turf. With the lockdowns, Instacart became an essential service for people needing food, and the company bolstered its gig-working delivery worker ranks to 750,000 to meet up with demand.
How big a threat Uber can be with its later and currently limited arrival into grocery delivery reamains to be seen, but the company does have a huge installed base and Instacart looks like it is taking no chances.