Amazon has been accused of using its start-up investment projects to actually acquire product information developed by small companies, but also to launch its own competitive devices. In other words, the company actually contacted a series of start-ups, met with their officials and, in some cases, even bought a fraction of the shares, all in order to obtain data and then allow it to launch products similar to those developed by these startups.

reports from the Wall Street Journal point to several examples, including a company called livingsocial, whose representatives met with Amazon to discuss potential investments.

Amazon eventually bought a 30% stake in livingsocial, but according to the report, the company then asked for proprietary data and reached out to its customers to provide better deals for similar products.

officials at UBI, a smart speaker, said they had met with Amazon executives to discuss cooperation. Amazon’s final products are based on the same ideas as they are, and echo speakers are just like that. Some entrepreneurs claim that after Amazon launched a competitive product, their business collapsed and they were forced to downsize.

Amazon, on the other hand, declined to comment on the report, explaining that meetings with companies it wanted to invest in were confidential. The company does add that any information obtained from such meetings will not be used to build competitive products, noting that any such claims are usually settled in court.

“in the past 26 years, we have created many functions, products and even new categories. From itself to the Kindle to the echo to AWS, few companies can claim to have a record of innovation comparable to Amazon. ” Business insider quoted an Amazon spokesman as saying. “Unfortunately, there are always some self interested complains rather than construction. Any legal dispute concerning the ownership of intellectual property shall be settled in the court as a matter of course. ”

Amazon is one of the companies facing anti competitive behavior charges in the United States, and its CEO Jeff Bezos will testify at the upcoming hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.