The makers of PocketMLS, a wireless real estate listings and alerts service, have sued a competitor on claims that its wireless real estate product infringes a PocketMLS patent on such services.
Cupertino, Calif.-based BayNet World this month filed the patent infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Hand e Corp., which makes the Pocket Real Estate wireless product.
Pocket Real Estate is a software application for handheld devices that enables agents to synchronize MLS data for mobile access to listings. The lawsuit targets the Pocket Real Estate wireless service, which allows for MLS updates to wireless-enabled handheld computers and compatible mobile phones.
The complaint alleges that Pocket Real Estate infringed BayNet’s patent issued in November 2002. The patent describes a system through which users of wireless-equipped portable computing devices, such as a personal digital assistant, can perform searches in a database such as an MLS database for listings of properties matching specified criteria.
Pocket Real Estate and Pocket Real Estate Wireless are available to more than 500,000 real estate agents throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to Hand e Corp.’s Web site.
No one from Honolulu-based Hand e Corp. was available to comment on the allegations.
BayNet has asked for a temporary injunction to stop Hand e Corp. from providing its wireless real estate service while the case is pending and a permanent injunction on the service if it wins the case. If BayNet prevails, agents who use the Pocket Real Estate wireless service would no longer be able to use it, according to BayNet’s attorney James Isbester.
“Presumably, what the MLSs would have to do is at the end of a particular month terminate the service,” he said.
If BayNet wins, MLSs that wanted to continue to offer wireless real estate data services would have to subscribe to PocketMLS or to BayNet’s service through one of its licensed suppliers.
Isbester said BayNet is not suing any MLSs or subscribers of Hand e Corp.’s Pocket Real Estate wireless service.
“If a court upholds the patent and it is determined that the Hand e Corp. product infringes that patent, we would expect that responsible MLSs would not continue to offer those services,” he said.
Hand e Corp. has contracts with large and small MLSs nationwide, including the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, North Texas Real Estate Information Systems and Trend Multiple Listing Service in the Philadelphia region. Last fall, the company signed a contract with Nokia to provide wireless access to MLS listings on the Nokia 3600 and 3650 imaging phones.
MLSNI, which has been using Pocket Real Estate services for about two years, in March signed a contract to offer its more than 38,000 members wireless access to real estate data on mobile phones and handheld computers.
BayNet’s products include PocketMLS, ListingAlert and e-Agents. The ListingAlert service automatically e-mails property information to agents’ clients when a listing appears that matches their search criteria. E-Agents integrates a Web site with the ListingAlert service.
No one from BayNet was available to comment on the lawsuit or discuss the company’s products and services.
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