Real estate and loan data aggregator CoreLogic is suing Seattle-based online brokerage Redfin Corp. and two real estate analytics and valuation companies, Collateral Intelligence LLC and Collateral Analytics LLC, alleging the property valuations they provide infringe on a patent issued to CoreLogic in 1994.
CoreLogic previously filed lawsuits under the same patent against 11 other real estate companies in 2010. Since then, CoreLogic has settled with six of the companies: Intellireal LLC, Precision Appraisal, Zillow, Lender Processing Services, RealEC Technologies Inc. and Espiel Inc.
CoreLogic continues to be in litigation with Fiserv Inc., Interthinx Inc., Real Data Inc., Electronic Appraiser Inc. and American Flood Research Inc. The parties were in mediation as of mid-May.
CoreLogic declined to comment for this story, citing pending litigation.
CoreLogic claims the rights to U.S. Patent 5,361,201, 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. Such a system may also "generate reports describing property valuations, market trend analyses, property conformity information, and recommendations regarding loans based on risk related to a property," according to the patent text.
Although issued on Nov. 1, 1994, the company filed for the patent on Oct. 19, 1992. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, patents generally expire 20 years after the date they were filed, meaning the ‘201 patent is set to expire in October of this year.
In a May 23 complaint filed in a federal district court, Santa Ana, Calif.-based CoreLogic alleges Redfin.com and the Redfin Home Price Tool, which debuted in March, infringe on the ‘201 patent, and claims Redfin’s products include "(automated valuation models) for real estate appraisal."
The Redfin Home Price Tool allows sellers to build their own comparative market analysis, or "CMA," by choosing comparable homes using recently sold data from multiple listing services. "It’s not an automated valuation model. It’s user-driven and technology-supported," Redfin spokesman Matt Wakefield told Geekwire at the time of the product’s launch.
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman declined to comment for this story, saying, "We haven’t put together a defense yet."
In separate complaints also filed May 23, CoreLogic makes similar claims and demands against Honolulu-based Collateral Analytics and Natick, Mass.-based Collateral Intelligence, alleging the companies’ AVMs and valuation reports violate the ‘201 patent.
Cathy Jager, general counsel for Collateral Analytics, declined to comment for this story.
"While we’re aware that CoreLogic has filed a patent infringement claim to Collateral Analytics and other companies, the lawsuit has not been served on us, so we think it would be premature to comment," Jager said.
"When and if we’re served with a complaint, that would determine the date that we would file (an official) response or even the necessity for us to do so," she added.
Kimberly A. Kramer, an attorney with Berluti McLaughlin & Kutchin LLP representing Collateral Intelligence, said the company did not yet know when it would respond to the complaint.
"Our investigation into this claim has just begun and is ongoing," Kramer said.
"However, based on a preliminary review of the complaint, we believe that the lawsuit lacks legal merit and that the timing, given the (general competitive) pressures on CoreLogic in the marketplace, was strategically motivated. Collateral Intelligence will vigorously defend itself against this claim."
She added that, based on the information provided with the complaint, the ‘201 patent would expire in October.
CoreLogic’s complaints seek compensation for damages from each defendant and rulings preventing the defendants from further alleged infringement.
Each complaint also demands a jury trial. The patent suits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a district well-known for its patentee-friendly juries. Between 1998 and 2006, patentees won 90 percent of all jury trials in the district between 1998 and 2006, compared with 68 percent at the national level, according to a 2007 paper on "forum shopping" by patent litigants written by Yan Leychkis in the Yale Journal of Law and Technology. As of last year, the district continued to lead as a forum for patent case filings, according to law firm Perkins Coie LLP.