CoStar, RealMassive settle copyright lawsuit

Mar.March 03, 2016 10:00 AM

From the New York site: Commercial real estate research company CoStar settled its copyright infringement lawsuit against startup RealMassive, less than two years after the publicly-traded company dropped a fight against users of a competitive product, CompStak.

CoStar, which runs an online commercial real estate database and has a market capitalization of $5.82 billion, sued RealMassive in May, claiming the startup used its copyrighted images of properties without permission.

“We are glad to have this lawsuit resolved,”RealMassive’s CEO Craig Hancock said in a statement Wednesday. “CoStar’s claim that we deliberately added its photos to our database was false. Our firm went to great lengths and expense to avoid acquiring CoStar’s images, but apparently a few images slipped through the cracks early on.” Hancock did not specify the terms of the settlement.

Austin-based RealMassive is an online marketplace that allows users to share commercial real estate data. The firm is among a handful of startups challenging CoStar’s dominance in the online commercial real estate data business.

In its own statement, CoStar dismissed the suggestion that the copyright infringements were isolated incidents. “RealMassive is not an example of innovation. Rather, its service was powered by content that was stolen from those who created it through hard work and investment,” a CoStar spokesperson wrote. “As the case progressed, it became even clearer that RealMassive’s systematic theft of CoStar intellectual property had been conducted on a real massive scale.”

Users of a competing product, crowdsourced leasing database CompStak, were hit by a similar CoStar lawsuit in early 2014. That suit, which alleged copyright infringement by CompStak users, was ultimately withdrawn. CompStak was never named a party in the suit.

Under the terms of CoStar’s settlement with RealMassive, the firms agreed to “work together to avoid future disputes.” According to RealMassive’s statement, CoStar also agreed to mark its copyrighted images and to give RealMassive a written takedown notice before filing any future lawsuits.

CoStar, which is led by Andrew Florance and went public in 1998, has a history of acquiring other real estate information companies. In 2012, it paid $860 million for Loopnet. In 2014, it paid $585 million for, and bought Apartment Finder for $170 million the following year.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described a previous lawsuit brought by CoStar against CompStak users. CompStak was not named a party in that lawsuit. 

Related Articles

LA promo

Coming Soon: The Real Deal Los Angeles’ Winter 2020 issue!

From left: Howard Schwimmer and Michael S. Frankel, with 1601 W. Mission Boulevard and 2757 E. Del Amo Boulevard (Credit: Google Maps)

Rexford Industrial adds to LA portfolio with $100M in acquisitions

Andrew McDonald and At Mateo in the Arts District

Cushman’s West Coast chief talks expansion, DTLA market, the death of the starving baby broker & more

3339 Exposition Blvd. and Asher Luzzatto

Luzzatto Co. assembling creative office hub in West Adams

Jason Illoulian and the Cemex plant

Faring makes $30M assemblage play on WeHo/LA border

From left: Nuveen CEO Vijay Advani, Graymark founder/CEO Brian Hecktman

Graymark, Nuveen pay $97M for El Segundo creative office

La Mirada industrial building

Clarion pays $77M for La Mirada industrial project

510 Park Avenue and CEO of Monster Beverage Rodney Sacks

Monster Beverage affiliate guzzles down industrial project in San Fernando