On the heals of settling the Civix lawsuit, MLSs are aware that litigation can have significant impacts on the services they offer to their members using third party service providers. The Civix settlement was arranged by NAR legal council and cost MLSs about $9.06 per subscriber.
There are other ongoing patent infringement lawsuits for mobile that could also have significant impacts on MLS service providers, but a recent Inman article brought my attention to a suit that CoreLogic has pending against LPS, and by association, RPR™. CoreLogic® has patents on their Automated Valuations tools and claim that LPS and the RPR™ REALTOR® Valuation infringe on their patent.
I do not know the quality of the case or defense, but I do know that MLSs and Associations do not want to get sucked into litigation or a settlement as a result of the litigation.
As each Association of REALTORS® and MLS go through their decision making process on data licensing, consideration should be given to mitigating future exposure related to this lawsuit and other lawsuits. The concept is indemnification.
MLSs are insured, but litigation is painful and time consuming. NAR sanctioned MLS are insured by NAR for lawsuits after a deduction of $100,000 – any expense up to the deductible are your responsibility. This may all be avoided if MLSs negotiate indemnification language into their vendor agreements.
As it relates to data licensing: regardless of your preference for CoreLogic’s Property Infonet, or RPR, or both, or none; be sure to address indemnification from the lawsuits between these companies. Keep your MLS business out of it.