Best Buy fined 27 million for stealing trade secrets
A California jury awarded TechForward 27 million U.S. dollars against Best Buy for stealing their buyback program trade secrets.
Best Buy was just slammed with a 27 million dollar settlement that must be paid to TechForward. Of that 27 million the courts say the electronics company must pay 22 million for the trade secret damages and another 5 million for punitive damages.
TechForward, which filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in 2011, alleged that Best Buy misappropriated their trade secrets in relation to their ‘Guaranteed Buyback Program’. The program allowed for customers to exchange an electronics product for credit in the store on another item. Best Buy used TechForward’s idea with the buyback program by working with the company and then cancelled their agreement and began using the company’s own, nearly identical, customer purchase credit program.
In a statement to the press, Jade Van Doren who co-founded TechForward stated, “We are extremely pleased that the jury recognized Best Buy’s misconduct, and we hope this verdict puts large companies on notice that there are real consequences to illegally exploiting start-up businesses like ours.”
Techforward is a smaller California based company that focuses on buyback programs for other stores. Their website states that the company’s purpose is to give customers the opportunity to upgrade their computers or electronics more easily. The trademarked “Guaranteed Buyback” product allows customers to return electronic items which are then recycled or resold, and Techforward claims that it was the first to market the idea back in 2006.