Groupon has sued two former sales managers it says took trade secrets to Google's competing venture when they quit the daily deals site, according to a Bloomberg report.
Michael Nolan and Brian Hanna left the Chicago-based company in January last month to join Google Offers, taking customer lists and marketing strategies with them, according to a civil complaint filed today in the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The suit, which doesn't name Google as a defendant, seeks to prevent them from sharing the information with Google, according to the report.
"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 they learned while employed at Groupon," according to the complaint, copies of which have not yet been made available on the Internet.
Google Offers was announced a month after Groupon reportedly rejected the company's $6 billion bid to buy it in December 2010. The search giant launched a beta version of its coupon and discount deals service in Portland, Ore., in April.
Groupon, which was expected to go public in September, has come under increased regulatory scrutiny lately. The Securities and Exchange Commission forced the daily deals provider to revise its filing papers after finding that the company mistakenly reported higher revenue than it should have.
Those missteps and market volatility have reportedly forced the company to scale back its IPO plans. Groupon is now expected to offer less than 10 percent of the company at a valuation of $12.5 billion. That's in contrast to the $20 billion to $25 billion that many believed the company was worth when it filed its IPO papers in June.