Real estate and loan data aggregator CoreLogic has reached settlements with two of the 11 companies it sued last year over allegations that property valuations they provide using automated valuation models (AVMs) infringe on a 1994 patent.
In separate motions to dismiss its claims against Intellireal LLC and Precision Appraisal, CoreLogic said it will continue to press its case against the other defendants in the lawsuit, including Lender Processing Services (LPS), Zillow, and Fiserv Inc.
CoreLogic’s claims against Intellireal were dismissed on May 26, and Precision Appraisal was dismissed from the lawsuit on Dec. 2. In a statement issued Monday, CoreLogic said it had entered into a patent license agreement with Intellireal as part of its settlement with that company.
"The ability to establish patent license agreements is evidence of the strength of our AVM technology and we expect to continue to expand our patent licensing program," CoreLogic said.
CoreLogic claims the rights to U.S. Patent 5,361,201, issued Nov. 1, 1994, for an "automated real estate appraisal system" using predictive models to generate estimated property values based on individual property characteristics and neighborhood or area characteristics.
The remaining defendants in the case deny CoreLogic’s claims, with Zillow, Interthinx, and Fiserv also filing counterclaims seeking rulings that they did not infringe on the patent and that the patent is invalid. Each company is seeking to recover its attorneys’ fees from CoreLogic.
CoreLogic’s original complaint, filed in U.S. District Court on April 16, 2010, named eight defendants, including Interthinx Inc., Real Data Inc. and RealEC Technologies Inc. An amended complaint filed last summer named three additional companies: American Flood Research Inc., Electronic Appraiser Inc., and Espiel Inc.
Under a schedule drawn up in March, the patent infringement case is not expected to go to trial until August 2012.
CoreLogic filed a related breach of contract lawsuit in Orange County, Calif., Superior Court against a former employee, Daniel Berman, and LPS.
Berman was senior vice president of mortgage analytics for CoreLogic until August 2009. After joining LPS in October 2009 as chief operating officer of the applied analytics division, Berman allegedly helped LPS recruit other CoreLogic employees.
CoreLogic had tried to prevent attorneys representing LPS in the patent infringement case from interviewing two former CoreLogic employees, Robert Walker and Renjie Chen. Walker and Chen went to work for LPS in February 2010, as CoreLogic was preparing to file suit against LPS.
As the vice president of CoreLogic’s AVM group, Walker was a member of CoreLogic’s "inner circle of management," attorneys for the company said, and received emails concerning CoreLogic’s litigation strategy. Chen worked under Walker as a modeler, designing CoreLogic’s AVMs, attorneys for the company said.
Attorneys for LPS successfully argued that they need to confer with Walker and Chen about the technical aspects of LPS’ own products, and have a right to "discover any factual, nonprivileged information (they) may have acquired while at CoreLogic."
LPS "has a policy prohibiting employees from accessing, using or disclosing any proprietary information or other trade secret belonging to a former employer," and the company has "neither the need nor the desire to obtain CoreLogic’s privileged information," attorneys for the company said.
LPS is the technology and data provider for the National Association of Realtors’ subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource LLC (RPR). RPR has built a parcel-based national property database that it hopes will generate revenue using "Realtor valuation model" automated property valuations that incorporate listing data from MLSs. Neither NAR nor RPR has been named in CoreLogic’s suit.