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Best Buy's Geek Squad Slapped With Restraining Order in Piracy Case

Best Buy's aggressively promoted, 24-hour computer support task force Geek Squad has been served with a temporary restraining order barring it from using a popular brand of system restore software, which Best Buy is accused of pirating.

The court order, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks in Austin, Texas, stems from a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Winternals Software LP, makers of ERD Commander 2005, a repair tool that boots a dead computer for system recovery.

The Winternals lawsuit accuses Best Buy – the nation's largest consumer electronics retail chain -- and its subsidiary Geek Squad Inc. of copyright infringement and misuse of trade secrets. Essentially, it alleges that Best Buy has been using unlicensed versions of the software. A hearing has been set for May 12 in Austin.

The federal judge also gave Best Buy 20 days to hand over all Winternals software copies, as well as identify the employees who used the programs, according to the restraining order.

Through a spokesman, Best Buy insisted the company is a proponent of licensed software and takes measures to safeguard against software copyright infringement and software piracy.

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