Friday, January 7, 2011

Finally Someone Sues ZILLOW Hurray!

First American sues Zillow over ‘Zestimates’

posted by Jeff CollinsSanta Ana-based First American CoreLogic Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit against eight rivals, including the popular real estate website, accusing them of infringing on a 1994 automated appraisal patent, according to the lawsuit.

The real estate data firm maintains that it owns a patent on an “automated valuation model,” or AVM, that can spit out value estimates for real estate parcels anywhere in the U.S.
The suit, filed last month in the Eastern District of Texas, maintains that Zillow and the other seven firms use CoreLogic’s AVM to sell products to its customers or other businesses without paying any royalties.
Zillow maintains that it provides property value estimates, or “Zestimates,” for 93 million homes  the U.S.,  or nearly all the residences in the country. The firm declined to comment on the lawsuit, but issued a statement:
“We have seen the complaint, and have no comment  at this time. Zillow has no plans to change any aspect of our business as a result of this complaint.”
At issue is Patent No. 5,361,201, a mathematical model named, “Real Estate Appraisal Using Predictive Modeling.”
The seven other firms named in the suit are Fiserve Inc., which is based in Wisconsin; IntelliReal LLC, based in Denver; Interthinx Inc., based in Agoura Hills; Lender Processing Services Inc., based in Florida; Precision Appraisal Services Inc., based in New Jersey; Real Data Inc., based in Houston; and Realec Technologies Inc., also based in Houston.
None of the firms have filed responses to the lawsuit yet, and a date for further proceedings has not yet been set.
The suit requests that the defendants be enjoined from using First American’s AVM and that it be paid treble damages for loss of profits.

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