Have you used Best Buy’s “Buy Back” program to trade in your recently purchased gadgets for a percentage of its cost back to Best Buy and thought, “Hey! This doesn’t seem like an original idea to me!” Well, you’re right as Best Buy has been hit with a $22 million fine in damages for stealing trade secrets from San Francisco startup, TechForward.
A jury ruled in favor for TechForward, who originally came up with the program and worked with Best Buy to implement the service to its customers starting in 2009. After months of working with TechForward, Best Buy decided to cancel their deal with the company to pursue its own version of their buyback program. Unfortunately for Best Buy, TechForward didn’t take the cancelation sitting down, filed their lawsuit and won.
TechForward co-founders Jade Van Doren and Marc Lebovitz had the following to share in regards to today’s news:
“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”
As of now, Best Buy’s “Buy Back Program” no longer seems to be accepting new customers, but will honor existing Buy Back customers for up to 24 months of when their product was purchased. When you consider it cost Best Buy $27 million in fines, they should at least be able to continue using what they stole from TechForward.