Zillow Group and its subsidiary Trulia have been hit with a lawsuit alleging that the real estate tech companies’ mobile home search apps violate a patent for “real estate information search and retrieval system.”
The suit, brought by Virginia-based Corus Realty Holdings in U.S. District Court in Seattle seeks to block Zillow and Trulia from using location-based mobile search apps that display information about homes. Corus said in 2001 it developed and patented a “mobile device that used location technology to identify and obtain relevant information about real estate near a user’s location.” Today, using location services on mobile devices is the basis for many real estate search engines.
Corus’ listed address in court documents matches that of Michael Gorman. Gorman was the CEO of Corus, which was acquired by real estate company Long & Foster in 2009, and now he serves as managing director of Long & Foster’s Corus Group, according to its website. Long & Foster told Inman that it doesn’t own the patent and is not involved in the suit. Gorman did not return a request for comment from GeekWire.
Zillow responded to the suit with the following statement: “We are aware of the lawsuit recently filed. While we won’t discuss pending litigation, we believe the claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the lawsuit.”
Zillow recently faced another lawsuit brought by Chicago-area homeowners, who claimed Zillow markets its Zestimate tool is a valid home appraisal tool, though they alleged that it is often inaccurate and difficult to get changed. A judge threw out the case last month, for the second time, citing the fact that Zillow is very clear about Zestimate as a starting point in home valuation not a valid appraisal. That ruling is being appealed.
Here is the full filing: