Lawsuit targets mobile real estate apps

Smarter Agent sues Move, Trulia, Zillow, others over patents

Mobile real estate applications company Smarter Agent has filed a federal class-action lawsuit alleging patent infringement by major real estate companies including Move, Zillow and Trulia, among others.

In the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Smarter Agent alleges that the companies named in the suit violated three of its technology patents, all of which allow users to access real estate information via a mobile device. The suit alleges infringement by "making, using, importing, providing, offering to sell, and selling (directly or through intermediaries), infringing products and/or services."

The suit names the following companies as defendants: Boopsie Inc., Classified Ventures LLC, HotPads Inc., IDX Inc., Move Inc. and subsidiary RealSelect Inc., Multifamily Technology Solutions Inc. (owner of MyNewPlace.com), Primedia Inc. and subsidiary Consumer Source Inc., TRSoft Inc. (owner of PlanetRE.com), Trulia Inc., Zillow Inc. and ZipRealty Inc. The complaint was filed March 26.

"Smarter Agent has been operating and innovating in the mobile space for a decade. We believe our innovations, protected by our patents, are being infringed upon. We have an obligation to our shareholders to protect our intellectual property. We intend to vigorously protect our intellectual property," said Shelly Schwartz, Smarter Agent’s spokesperson.

According to the complaint, Smarter Agent seeks injunctive relief — to stop the companies from their alleged continued infringement — and monetary damages. The complaint demands a jury trial.

Smarter Agent alleges that the companies named in the lawsuit "derive revenue from their infringing products and services by, for example, selling advertisements displayed via their infringing products and services and/or receiving compensation for lead generation from their infringing products and services and/or selling or licensing the use of their infringing products and services."

Move, Trulia, Classified Ventures, Boopsie, HotPads, and Primedia declined to comment.

"We intend to vigorously defend against this lawsuit and do not believe that any of our mobile technology infringes on any patent. It is unfortunate that lawsuits of this nature seek to limit companies’ opportunity to innovate, often at the expense of consumers," said Samantha Harnett, ZipRealty’s vice president, general counsel and secretary. …CONTINUED