Industry News

Patent lawsuit defense gets more backing from NAR

Realtor group supports agent who allegedly violated mapping patent

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The National Association of Realtors has upped its financial stake in a mapping-patent lawsuit filed against a Realtor in Pennsylvania. The association said if the lawsuit is successful, more agents and MLSs could be targeted with similar complaints. Already, the Realtor trade group has contributed about $500,000 to support the defense of its member, Diane Sarkisian, from claims that she violated a patent held by Real Estate Alliance Ltd. And on Monday, the trade group's board of directors approved an additional contribution of up to $325,000 to support the ongoing litigation. The relevant patents, granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1989 and 1991, claim "a method using a computer for locating available real estate properties," and relies on the creation of a database of available real estate properties, a map display for a desired geographic area, and "zooming in on the first area of the displayed map to about the boundaries of the first area to display a higher level o...