A federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court decision dismissing a patent infringement suit against a multiple listing service software vendor and invalidating the patent at issue.

In July 2009, Portland, Ore.-based CollegeNET Inc., which provides Web-based administrative services to higher education institutions and nonprofits, filed suit against MLS vendors MarketLinx Inc. and Rapattoni Corp., claiming the companies had infringed on a 2005 patent governing an automated system for sending predetermined messages to website users based on information entered into a template.

MarketLinx is a business unit of data aggregator CoreLogic. Its MLXchange, Tempo, and Fusion MLS systems were among the products alleged to have violated CollegeNET’s U.S. Patent  6,910,045.

Rapattoni settled with CollegeNET in September 2010. Meanwhile, MarketLinx filed a counterclaim seeking a ruling that it had not infringed on the patent, and to invalidate the patent.

On Nov. 8, 2011, after a two-year court battle, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a ruling that invalidated six of the claims made by CollegeNET in its patent application, agreeing that "prior art" established in two previously issued patents made CollegeNET’s claimed innovations "obvious" and not patentable.

On June 19, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision "without opinion thereby leaving the District Court’s judgment in place and the CollegeNET patent invalid," CoreLogic said.

"We were confident in the strength of our case from the very beginning and that Judge Sparks in Austin understood our evidence and was right in granting us summary judgment in view of the prior art we presented," said Ben Graboske, CEO of CoreLogic MarketLinx, in a statement.

"This victory represents a win for the MLS industry, its brokers and agents."

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