E-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) division Amazon Local is in the spotlight after being sued by Angie’s List Inc (NASDAQ:ANGI) for stealing the latter’s provider lists and other proprietary information.
Angie’s List, founded in 1995 and headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, provides consumer reviews about service providers. Angie’s has formed a nationwide record of home repair providers and other businesses that its members can grade.
Members have access to these rankings while selecting plumbers, electricians, and a number of other service providers. But Angie’s member agreement clearly disallows the use of its accounts and information for commercial purposes
Angie’s List filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Indianapolis alleging that the e-giant’s local services unit employees signed up as members of Angie’s to gain access to the information. After setting up the accounts, they downloaded service provider profiles, member reviews and other data to build a rival to Angie’s.
Angie’s also accused Amazon of attempting to get in touch with the leading companies and seek business from service providers whose names it had acquired from Angie’s List online profiles.
A number of charges have been pressed against Amazon Local, including the misappropriation of trade secrets, theft, computer trespass, civil conspiracy and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Angie’s seeks compensation for the damages and is also trying to prohibit Amazon Local from using the information that it acquired from Angie’s.
Amazon Local will likely be asked to fork out some cash and could also see operational restrictions. But Amazon Local has a strong backer in the form of Amazon Inc, which will likely want to settle the matter quickly. Since Amazon Local hasn’t really taken off very broadly, damages are unlikely to have too big an impact on its resources.
Amazon currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).