LendingTree has reached a settlement with a vendor it alleged was working with Google to provide online offers from mortgage lenders, dropping a lawsuit that sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the venture.
The settlement is confidential, and neither LendingTree nor the vendor it sued, Mortech Inc., is saying much about it.
LendingTree issued a press release saying the dispute had been resolved "to the mutual satisfaction of both parties" and the lawsuit dismissed. The company declined further comment.
A spokeswoman for Mortech said the company remains "committed to our customers, including those on the LendingTree network, and will continue to provide the absolute best service in the mortgage pricing engine, product eligibility and lead management space."
Attorneys for LendingTree filed notice that the company was dismissing its case "with prejudice" — meaning it can raise the same issues again — and that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina "shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the confidential settlement agreement and release between the parties."
The case drew considerable attention because of LendingTree’s claim that Google has already begun beta testing a loan aggregation service that, like LendingTree’s, relies on Mortech’s pricing engine (see story). …CONTINUED
Pricing engines allow lenders to generate loan quotes automatically based on their underwriting criteria and information submitted by prospective borrowers.
LendingTree said a confidentiality agreement with Mortech prohibits the company — with "a limited exception" — from providing its services to other companies.
That "limited exception" is possibly in reference to Zillow, as Mortech is one of several companies that provide pricing engine services to lenders participating in Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace.
In its alleged collaboration with Google, LendingTree claimed in its complaint, Mortech would "inevitably disclose the confidential, proprietary and secret information that it has about LendingTree," including "substantial information" about products in development.
Mortech has not denied working with Google, and Google has said only that it is working on "a small ad unit test that will run against a limited number of mortgage-related search queries in the U.S."
Judges have allowed LendingTree to file nearly every document in the case after its initial complaint under seal, meaning they cannot be viewed by the public.
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