US retailer Wal-Mart Stores this week filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com and its chief information officer, as well as Drugstore.com and a venture capital firm that funded both operations.
Wal-Mart charged that they all violated the Arkansas Trade Secrets Act because they recruited and hired at least 10 Wal-Mart employees with unique and intimate knowledge of the retailer's proprietary data warehousing, distribution and merchandising operation.
The lawsuit asks for an injunction forbidding the plaintiffs from using any Wal-Mart systems knowledge or transferring that knowledge to other companies. Amazon.com and Drugstore.com couldn't be reached for comment. The chief financial officer at the venture capital fund involved -- Mike Curry at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers -- declined comment, saying he had no knowledge of the lawsuit.
The combination of these individuals and the job responsibility they held with Wal-Mart would make it inevitable that trade secrets involving our systems and our processes would be revealed," said a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
A spokesman for Amazon.com couldn't comment on the lawsuit, because the company hasn't seen it.