Groupon filed a civil complaint October 24 in an Illinois court accusing two former sales managers of taking trades secrets with them when they quit Groupon to join Google.
Michael Nolan, who worked for Groupon for two years, and Brian Hanna, since January of this year, have both been named in the suit. Both of them left last month to join Google Offers. Google has not been named in the suit.
Groupon stated: "In their new positions with Google Offers and/or Google, Hanna and Nolan will provide the same or similar services as they provided at Groupon," requiring them "to employ confidential and proprietary information that they learned while employed at Groupon," according to the complaint. The case is Groupon Inc. v. Hanna, 11CH36731, Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court, Chancery Division (Chicago).
In the complaint, the two men have been accused of breaching promises to protect Groupon information including customer lists, sales, and marketing plans. Groupon is seeking the courts grant them an order to prevent both Nolan and Hanna from doing exploiting lists or information. This could all be tied back to the acquisition offer from Google being rejected last spring by Groupon and Google entering into the daily deals space anyways. This was countered by Groupon hiring Margo Georgiadis as COO from Google.
This isn't the first time Google or Google employees have been the target of a lawsuit. Earlier this year both Paypal, Oracle, VoIP and several other companies have filed disputes at former employees that now work for Google.
I don't know if this is a ploy by Groupon to protect their "trade secrets" or to remain the the spotlight with their new IPO announcement. Groupon hoped for a $25-$30 billion valuation but look like they'll end up around $11.4 billion.
As RunningShoes.com and Cat5 Commerce points out, this is a 60 percent off deal of common stock for the discounted price of $16 per share. This isn't a real coupon but does illustrate why Groupon could be frustrated at the moment. I guess we'll see how everything plays out in the next couple months.
Image credit: ByteFish
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