Zillow Group ‘pleased’ with ruling in federal patent suit over mobile real estate search apps

Zillow’s search home page. (Photo Via Screenshot)

Zillow Group applauded a ruling from a federal judge in an 18-month-old patent lawsuit that seeks to bar the real estate giant from using mobile search apps to help customers find homes.

Virginia-based Corus Realty Holdings sued Zillow Group and subsidiary Trulia in 2018, alleging that the real estate tech companies’ mobile home search apps violate a patent for “real estate information search and retrieval system.”

The documents are sealed, meaning we can’t take a look at them. However, the court docket says that U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart ruled in favor of Zillow in part on a motion seeking summary judgment — a judge’s decision made without a trial. But he did not rule on a motion seeking to invalidate Corus’ patent. Robart also dismissed two counterclaims from Zillow.

As a result of these developments, a trial in the case was cancelled. Judge Robart will soon issue a written ruling to resolve the remaining issues.

“We are pleased the court ruled in our favor in this case. Zillow and Trulia have always been committed to empowering people with free, accurate information about home listings and real estate, and this ruling ensures we will be able to continue to provide this information,” Zillow said in a statement.

The suit seeks to block Zillow and Trulia from using location-based mobile search apps that display information about homes, technology that has become the backbone for many real estate search engines. Corus said in court documents it developed and patented in 2001 a “mobile device that used location technology to identify and obtain relevant information about real estate near a user’s location.”

Corus was acquired by real estate company Long Foster in 2009. When the lawsuit was filed in June 2018, Long Foster told Inman that it doesn’t own the patent and is not involved in the suit.

Corus’ listed address in court documents matches that of Michael Gorman. Gorman was the CEO of Corus before it was sold to Long Foster, and now he serves as managing director of Long Foster’s Corus Group, according to its website.

We’ve reached out to Corus’ legal team, and we will update this post if we hear back.

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