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MLSs, Realtor associations pitch in $7.5M for patent license

Patent holder CIVIX has lawsuit pending against Trulia

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Multiple listing services and Realtor associations now have blanket protection from legal claims by a company that holds several patents on location-based Internet search techniques, after the National Association of Realtors raised $7.5 million in licensing fees by Tuesday's deadline.

Alexandria, Va.-based CIVIX-DDI LLC has filed patent infringement lawsuits against a number of companies that offer location-based search capabilities to consumers -- including two of the nation's largest MLSs: Chicago-based Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) and Rockville, Md.-based Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS). After filing counterclaims against CIVIX, MRED and MRIS both elected to settle out of court.

When CIVIX began sending other MLSs letters demanding that they pay a licensing fee of $6 per member per year for four years, about 50 MLSs asked NAR to take the lead in negotiating a blanket licensing agreement that would apply to the industry as a whole...