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Bloomberg reports that Instacart is suing Uber Technologies, charging that its Cornershop unit "stole intellectual property, including listings of inventory at grocery stores."

Uber bought Chile-based Cornershop last year and was plotting an US rollout this year that would focus on grocery delivery.

According to the story, "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."

In a statement, Uber replied:  "Instacart is facing a new challenge in the U.S. from a Chilean upstart, and it’s unfortunate that their first move is litigation instead of competition.  Cornershop will be responding to this complaint but won’t be deterred in bringing grocery delivery to more customers in the U.S.”

Bloomberg points out that Uber, having seen a precipitous decline in its ride-hailing business because of the pandemic, is focusing more on delivery.  Just last week, Uber said it would acquire delivery company Postmates for $2.65 billion, having failed to acquire Grubhub earlier this year.

KC's View:

The stakes are ever-higher in a segment that has been accelerated beyond expectations by the pandemic, so we're going to see a flurry of achieved and attempted acquisitions and mergers, not to mention, I would guess, attempts at new business models that will look to break a few eggs.

And lawsuits.  There always will be lawsuits.