A co-founder who left Redfin in 2006 is suing his former company for copying virtual home tour technology he later developed for his new company, Surefield.
David Eraker filed two suits alleging intellectual property theft regarding two incidents. One alleges that Redfin and venture capital backer Madrona Venture Group address the 3D tour tech. The other alleges Redfin and Madrona effectively stole map-based search tech he developed while at Redfin, according to Geekwire.
In one suit, Eraker claims that Surefield developed and patented a 3D home tour product shortly after he founded the company in 2012. They launched it in April 2014. A few months later, Redfin launched its own 3D home tour product called 3D Walkthrough.
Eraker claims that Redfin used Surefield’s patented technology in 3D Walkthrough and said that his company was unable to attract venture capital funding for its own product because of competition from Redfin.
The other suit alleges that Madrona managing director Paul Goodrich secretly filed a provisional patent application for technology that Eraker invented while Madrona considered a Series A round of investment in Redfin.
The suit alleges that Madrona “kept [the provisional application] off of Redfin’s books before and after the Series A investment, and assigned the application to Redfin only after Mr. Eraker had been ousted from the company.”
Eraker told Geekwire that the suits are an effort to “assert our patents and bring account for the type of behavior” of Redfin and Madrona.
“It matters because this happens all the time,” he said. [Geekwire] — Dennis Lynch