Two competitors in the wireless real estate business have agreed to dismiss a lawsuit over a patent covering the system used to access MLS data from a wireless device.
Cupertino, Calif.-based BayNet World filed the patent infringement lawsuit last May in U.S. District Court against Hand e Corp., which makes the Pocket Real Estate wireless product. BayNet is the creator of PocketMLS, a wireless real estate listings and alerts service.
Pocket Real Estate is a software application for handheld devices that enables agents to synchronize MLS data for mobile access to listings. The lawsuit targeted the Pocket Real Estate wireless service, which allows for MLS updates to wireless-enabled handheld computers and compatible mobile phones.
“They dropped their claim that we were infringing on their patent and we dropped our claim that their patent was invalid,” Hand e Corp. President Everett Kaneshige said.
The original complaint alleged 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.
According to Hand e Corp., no changes have been made to the Pocket Real Estate Wireless service in connection with the lawsuit and current users of the service will not be impacted.
“Our position has always been that there is no infringement and therefore no changes were required,” Kaneshige said.
At issue was what attorneys for BayNet described as Hand e Corp.’s intent to build a product that would’ve infringed on BayNet’s granted patent on its PocketMLS service, which automatically e-mails property information to real estate agents and their clients wirelessly over their device when a listing appears matching their home search criteria. There is a pending claim on this alerting feature that would additionally patent Baynet’s ListingAlert desktop product that performs the same function for an agent from the desktop or Web site.
However, that feature has been removed from the Hand e Corp. product, according to BayNet attorneys, who said the company was willing to drop the case only when it received proof that the alerts feature was no longer part of the Pocket Real Estate product.
“BayNet’s patent lawyers consider this a victory in that the changing of (Hand e Corp’s) product (plans) constitutes a recognition of the validity of our patents,” Baynet said in a statement.
BayNet’s products include PocketMLS, ListingAlert and the BayNet Web suite. The ListingAlert service automatically e-mails property information to agents’ clients when a listing appears that matches their search criteria.
Hand e Corp develops software for mobile devices, including, Pocket Real Estate and Pocket Real Estate Wireless, which are compatible with most major MLS systems and available to more than 500,000 real estate agents.
“We have different products,” Kaneshige commented. “We think we have a good product and we want to be able to sell it without having to deal with a lawsuit.”
Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.