Victory Over Patent Claim for Property Search Feature

The National Association of REALTORS® negotiated a settlement on behalf of the real estate industry to end patent enforcement actions against real estate businesses that send email alerts when a website is updated with a property that matches a user’s criteria.

Data Distribution Technologies claimed to own the patent on this widely used technological process and threatened to sue several real ­estate businesses unless they paid a licensing fee. NAR filed a lawsuit in June seeking to invalidate the company’s patent.

NAR’s legal action resulted in a settlement whereby NAR will drop its challenge to the patent if Data Distribution Technologies agrees to no longer enforce its patent in the real estate industry. NAR members, associations, MLSs, affiliates, and other related entities are now protected from potentially costly legal action.

NAR President Tom Salomone hailed the announcement. “When REALTORS® fall victim to abuses in the patent system, NAR is going to have their back,” he said. “We’re hopeful that the settlement will remind patent trolls across the country that this type of exploitation is unacceptable and won’t go unanswered.”

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