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Angie's List sues Amazon subsidiary over proprietary information

Published:Friday | June 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The consumer reviews service Angie's List has filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon Local, accusing the subsidiary of stealing provider lists and other proprietary information.

The lawsuit filed Friday in US District Court Indianapolis, where Angie's List is based, alleges executives at Amazon Local - which bills itself as a local deals website that offers up to 75 per cent savings on local services, products and experiences - and other employees obtained access to the information by signing up as members of Angie's List and downloading provider profiles, member reviews and other information. More than 20 Amazon Local employees are named as co-defendants.

The lawsuit alleges the information is being used by Amazon Local, based in Seattle, to establish a competing service, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Amazon Local did not immediately respond to a telephone message or email from The Associated Press on Tuesday seeking comment.

Angie's List said in the lawsuit its member agreement "explicitly prohibits the use of Angie's List's accounts and information for commercial purposes". The lawsuit alleges the Amazon Local employees violated the contract.

"Amazon Local has chosen not to devote the necessary time, resources and effort to compete legitimately with Angie's List and to develop its own research to identify and solicit service providers to work with. Instead, Amazon Local and its employees have chosen the shortcut of surreptitiously accessing and misappropriating Angie's List's proprietary information," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit accuses Amazon Local of misappropriation of trade secrets, theft, computer trespass, civil conspiracy, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and breach of contract.

Angie's List asked the court for damages and seeks an injunction prohibiting Amazon Local from accessing Angie's List and from benefiting from information it has accessed. Angie's List also seeks unspecified compensatory damages and seeks damages for "unjust enrichment" and punitive and other damages.