Best Buy to pay $27M over buy back disputeby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A California jury says Best Buy should pay $27 million to a company that accused the retailer of stealing trade secrets.
California based TechForward sued Best Buy accusing the Richfield company of using proprietary information to launch a program that buys back consumer electronics from customers.
TechForward said the business relationship was collaborative at first, but then Best Buy launched the buyback initiative without the California's company but using the firm's trade secrets.
A jury awarded $22 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages to TechForward.
In a statement, TechForward's co-founders Jade Van Doren and Marc Lebovitz said, "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."
Best Buy said it completely disagrees with the size of the award and intends to challenge the verdict.
Best Buy initially offered buybacks on a variety of products but the program now includes only cellular phones.