Terms and Conditions May Apply

Tecore, Inc. purchased equipment from AirWalk Communications and integrated the equipment into its own cellular network products. Tecore originally bought the equipment under an agreement that did not include any arbitration clause, but AirWalk elected to terminate that contract and proposed a new one instead. The proposed contract included an arbitration clause, but the parties were never able to finalize a new agreement. Nevertheless, Tecore sought to purchase additional equipment from AirWalk, and AirWalk’s quotation for that equipment attached and incorporated its own terms and conditions, including an arbitration provision. Tecore sent back a purchase order that made no reference to AirWalk’s terms, and AirWalk responded with a “Purchase Order Acceptance” form that again stated the sale was subject to the same terms attached to its previous quote. When the sale subsequently fell apart, AirWalk filed a demand for arbitration. Tecore objected to the arbitrator’s jurisdiction, but the case proceeded and an award was ultimately entered in favor of AirWalk. The district court confirmed the arbitration award, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Tecore argued that AirWalk’s arbitration provision had never become part of their agreement, but the Court of Appeals disagreed. Reviewing the issue de novo, the Court first disposed of Tecore’s claim that the sale had been made subject to the continuing terms of the original sales contract. Tecore also argued that it had not accepted the terms attached to AirWalk’s quote because its purchase order had not complied with the quote’s instruction to reference both the quotation number and the terms and conditions attached to the quote. However, the Court of Appeals did not read that instruction as mandating a particular form of acceptance for the formation of a contract, and even if it had been a requirement, AirWalk’s subsequent assent to Tecore’s defective acceptance confirmed that a contract had still been formed, including AirWalk’s arbitration clause.

Tecore, Inc. v. AirWalk Communications., Inc., No. 05-12-00130-CV

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