Amazon.com Inc has taken to court a veteran logistics executive hired away from it by Target Corp, in a bid to prevent him from revealing trade secrets.
According to Amazon's lawsuit filed this week, the former employee, Arthur Valdez, was in violation of a non-competition agreement that he signed while working for the company.
Valdez served 16 years at the company as a senior executive in the Seattle-based retailer's operations department with oversight on the company's international supply chain expansion.
Target and other major brick-and-mortar retailers are pursuing an aggressive strategy to spur their e-commerce businesses as they tried to catch up with Amazon, which had revolutionised online retail through aggressive pricing and speedy delivery.
At the time it announced the executive's hiring in February, Target made a pointed reference to his experience, calling him a ''seasoned supply chain leader'' who was focused on Amazon's international supply chain expansion.
The lawsuit made no mention of when Valdez left Amazon. However, Valdez's attorney informed Amazon that he would start at Target on Monday, according to the lawsuit.
''We have taken significant precautions to ensure that any proprietary information remains confidential and we believe this suit is without merit,'' Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said.
According to Amazon, Valdez was privy to confidential information in a highly competitive area for both companies - moving and shipping goods in the most effective manner.
According to Amazon its 2012 agreement with requires an 18-month hiatus before Valdez could take a position with similar responsibilities at a rival firm.
CIO magazine reported this week that Target was modernising a supply chain that was built based on a traditional linear model, in which goods predictably flowed from the manufacturer to one of its distribution centres and then to the shelves of one of its 1,800 stores.
According to Target, that model simply did not work any longer.
"We need to get the fundamentals in place and that's because the stress and strain we put on our supply chain today is very different to what was the case four or five years ago," Target CIO Mike McNamara told CIO.com.