Mobile real estate applications are the largest growth area in real estate technology. This is why so many people are attending online school to learn app development. Like anything expanding rapidly, there is big opportunity at stake, and pioneers who filed patents for methods of delivering mobile solutions are working hard to protect their intellectual property.
We saw a similar pattern in real estate when mapping was experiencing great growth in real estate. As you may recall, that ended with the National Association of REALTORS® negotiating an industry wide settlement widely known as CIVIX. In that settlement, a combination of Associations, MLSs, and Vendors paid about $9.06 per agent.
Today, Smarter Agent has filed claims against most real estate mobile companies already for protection on their patent. That litigation is still pending. CoreLogic is also suing RPR, LPS and others to protect their Automated Property Valuation methods. The lesson to learn from this is that you must require that your vendor indemnifies you in your contracts from any and all litigation involving their service and require them to provide a copy of their Proof of Liability Coverage naming you as additional insured.
Here is the nature of the Earthcomber Claim:
James Brady – the founder of Earthcomber – developed a system and method to
match users of mobile devices with merchants that are within a defined proximity of the device
and meet the stated preferences of the user. These inventions resulted in the issuance of multiple
patents, including United States Patent No. 7,071,842, entitled “System and Method for Locating
and Notifying a User of a Person, Place or Thing Having Attributes Matching the User’s Stated
Preferences,” (“the ‘842 Patent”) and United States Patent No. 7,589,628, entitled “System and
Method for Providing Location-Based Information to Mobile Consumers,” (“the ‘628 Patent”).
Earthcomber offers applications for mobile devices that are embodiments of the inventions
claimed by the ‘842 and ‘628 Patents and these applications have won acclaim in the industry.
Here is a link to the Earthcomber website