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Amazon sues Target amid fears that former employee will spill trade secrets

Gone are the days when you had to walk or drive to a local retailer to pick up toothpaste or visit a furniture store to purchase a kitchen table. Today, retailers of all sizes are turning to the Internet to offer their products directly to consumers. The problem for many retailers, however, is how to do so quickly and in a way that is cost-effective for both the customer and retailer.

Amazon has been heralded as the largest and most successful of all Internet-based retailers and a big part of Amazon's success has hinged on the company's innovative supply chain operations which include one and two-hour and free overnight delivery services and the ability to reorder common household products with the push of a button.

It's these types of trade secrets, Amazon argues in a recently filed lawsuit, that are in jeopardy of being revealed if Arthur Valdez, a former Amazon senior supply chain and logistics leader is allowed to assume the role of executive vice president, chief supply chain logistics officer at Target.

In the lawsuit, Amazon alleges that the 16-year veteran employee's decision to take a new job at Target is in direct violation of the company's non-competition agreement. Amazon charges that Valdez was "not only privy to the company's top secret supply chain and operational techniques," but that "he also helped to develop them."

Citing Valdez's resume and a Target press release announcing his hiring, Amazon charges that the former employee has already provided confidential details about the company's e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment operations.

More than ever, businesses must take steps to protect the intellectual property materials that they invest millions to develop. In cases where a company fears that intellectual property materials have been stolen or are in jeopardy of being compromised, it's wise to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles business litigation matters. 

Source: ZDNet, "Amazon sues former logistics exec recently hired by Target, says trade secrets are at stake," Natalie Gaglilordi, March 22, 2016

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