Dispute over real estate mapping patents takes a legal turn

REAL gets green light to argue case against Realtor.com

Real Estate Alliance Ltd. — which claims Realtor.com operator Move Inc. and dozens of other real estate companies, brokers and agents violated its mapping technology patents — may soon have its day in court.

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals this week ruled that a lower court erred in interpreting the scope of one of REAL’s patents too narrowly, and vacated that court’s ruling that Move had not infringed on the patents.

The appeals court agreed with REAL’s position that the scope of the patent — which expired in 2008 — was broad enough that it could have applied to mapping tools employed by Realtor.com and other websites.

The decision means attorneys for REAL will get their chance to prove allegations that Realtor.com and operators of other real estate websites infringed on the patent, which was granted in 1991.