Zillow and Trulia sued for patent infringement by former brokerage

The lawsuit targets the companies’ listings search apps

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff (Credit: LinkedIn and iStock)
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff (Credit: LinkedIn and iStock)

A former residential brokerage filed a federal lawsuit against Zillow Group and Trulia, alleging patent infringement related to searches on mobile apps.

Corus Realty Holdings’ June 11 complaint accuses the Zillow and Trulia mobile apps of violating Corus’ 2001 patent called “Real-estate information search and retrieval system,” according to Inman.

Corus had a real estate brokerage license in Virginia that expired in 2009, when the company was acquired by brokerage Long & Foster. That company doesn’t own the patent and isn’t involved in the legal proceedings, a spokesperson told Inman. Michael Gorman, now managing director of the Corus Group of Long & Foster, is listed as an inventor on the patent and was formerly founder and CEO of Corus.

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“We are aware of the lawsuit recently filed,” a Zillow spokesperson told Inman. “While we won’t discuss pending litigation, we believe the claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the lawsuit.”

The patent includes features common in listings search apps, the report said. It includes: “a data terminal which displays icons representing properties in a given real-estate market on a digital map. The icons are selectable so that, when selected, information derived from an MLS or other database are displayed in association with the map.”

Trulia, which was acquired by Zillow in 2014 for $3.5 billion, first launched its search app in 2008. Zillow launched its own search app in 2009.

Zillow also previously faced a lawsuit by several Chicago-area homeowners who alleged that the company leads homebuyers to believe its “Zestimates” are precise calculations of a home’s current market value, when in fact they’re often inaccurate. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last month, saying the website makes clear that the figures are only estimates. [Inman] — Meenal Vamburkar

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