Xceligent files motion to dismiss CoStar lawsuit

Data company claims suit violates FTC order

CoStar's Andrew Florance and Xceligent's Doug Curry
CoStar's Andrew Florance and Xceligent's Doug Curry

Real estate data company Xceligent filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by its rival CoStar, claiming that it violates a Federal Trade Commission order barring anti-competitive behavior.

CoStar sued Xceligent last month alleging “copyright infringement on an industrial scale.” CoStar claimed that Xceligent’s researchers regularly search CoStar’s databases to steal data and images.  Xceligent denies the charges.

In a motion filed Friday, Xceligent argued that the suit violates a 2012 FTC order that barred CoStar from “prohibiting or restricting commercial real estate brokers from providing their listing information or data to Xceligent, and prohibits Plaintiffs from pursuing litigation seeking relief inconsistent with the terms or purposes of the FTC Order.”

A CoStar spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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The FTC order was part of an agreement to approve CoStar’s $860 million acquisition of listing website LoopNet. One of the conditions attached to the approval was that LoopNet spin off Xceligent, at the time its subsidiary, as a separate company to ensure competition in the real estate data business.

Xceligent has been expanding aggressively since setting out on its own, and last year announced that it is entering CoStar’s biggest market New York.

Both CoStar and Xceligent offer online databases with commercial property and leasing information, along with separate online leasing marketplaces — LoopNet and commercialsearch.com.

Rivals have long accused CoStar of using lawsuits to stifle competition. CoStar has countered that rivals are growing their businesses by stealing its data. The firm has sued RealMassive, a Texas-based data company for copyright infringement and filed a similar suit against users of leasing database CompStak.