Recently, Redfin launched a new tool to educate homeowners on the pricing process, but the company has now been sued by CoreLogic for violating its automated valuation model patent filed 20 years ago.
Launched just over two months ago, Redfin’s Home Price Tool was created to educate homeowners on the pricing process so they have an estimate before entering discussions with an agent, but CoreLogic has filed a lawsuit against Redfin claiming patent rights over the technology being used in the Home Price Tool, according to GeekWire.
With Seattle-based Redfin’s Home Price Tool, users begin with a price range based on similar, recently sold homes in the neighborhood, then eliminate comparable homes that are dissimilar (new constructions, abandoned foreclosures, too big, too old or unimproved, for example). Redfin says this results in a fair, competitive price range to guide users as to what their home is worth or how it should be priced.
At the time of its release, AGBeat columnist Tara Steele wrote, “While Redfin is not pioneering the CMA, nor the AVM (automated valuation model, where a price is electronically generated), they are making strides toward what they call transparency by allowing consumers to interact with the data. This move will ruffle real estate professionals’ feathers, but could also be advantageous to Realtors whose listing clients refuse to budge on pricing, and for homeowners who feel the need to verify what their agent says. It’s not a revolutionary move, it’s an attempt to improve an existing technology and an existing concept in a transparent way.”
CoreLogic files against Redfin
In East Texas, CoreLogic has filed a patent suit alleging Redfin has infringed on its patent on “Real Estate Appraisal Using Predictive Modeling;” in other words, its automated valuation model patent, which was filed in 1992 and granted in 1994. Patents filed prior to 1995 expire 20 years after being granted, which means CoreLogic has just over two years remaining to defend its patent. Although some commentary floating around alludes to patents expiring in 17 or 18 years, this is only accurate if filed after 1995, so it is not likely that CoreLogic is filing in an effort to do so under the pressure of an expiring patent.
East Texas is, however, notorious for patent lawsuits, as the majority filed in the district win. Neither CoreLogic or Redfin is headquartered in Tyler, Texas, but both do business in the district, so it is technically fair ground for filing suit.
This is not CoreLogic’s first lawsuit defending its patent, nor its first filed in the Eastern District of Texas. In 2010, the company sued Zillow, Inc., Lender Processing Services, Inc., RealData, Inc., RealEC Technologies, Inc., Fiserv, Inc., IntelliReal, LLC, Interthinx, Inc., American Flood Research, Inc., Electronic Appraiser, Inc., and Espiel, Inc. CoreLogic settled with IntelliReal in 2011, entering into a patent license agreement, and Precision Appraisal was dismissed from the lawsuit in December 2010.
Both parties have declined to comment due to this being active litigation.
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