by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
maps, mls, patents, real estate

civix-ddi, trulia

Company Claims Patents On Generating A Map From A Database; Getting Real Estate Industry To Pay Up

from the lovely dept

Judith Lindenau alerts us to the news of a company named CIVIX-DDI, who holds two incredibly broad and obvious patents on generating maps from a database of location info:
  • Patent 6,385,622: "System and methods for remotely accessing a selected group of items of interest from a database."
  • Patent 6,415,291: "System and methods for remotely accessing a selected group of items of interest from a database."
Now, I know that patent system supporters always get angry at me for declaring patents obvious, but take a read through the claims (not the abstract) and I defy anyone who knows anything about programming to explain how these patents do not describe incredibly obvious concepts.

Either way, CIVIX-DDI has realized that pretty much every real estate company around likely has a map generated based on a database of location info. So it's been going after them. It originally went after and a variety of local multiple listing services (MLSs). After a bunch were threatened, the National Association of Realtors stepped in, and a few months ago negotiated a settlement, paying up to keep MLSs from facing patent infringement claims. Of course, that's just given the company more money, and so now it's suing Trulia, a useful real estate startup, as well. The industry is realizing that this is putting a serious crimp on much needed innovation in the real estate space:
“Traditionally the real estate industry has been served by a lot of independent software companies. Think about it, Top Producer was a couple brothers from Canada, Advanced Access, eNeighborhooods, Lone Wolf, Tarasoft, Rapattoni, W&R Studios, etc. I could think of a bunch more but hopefully you get the point. It’s not like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft have really focused on real estate software/technology,” W&R Studios co-founder, Greg Robertson told AGBeat.

Robertson continued, “These patent trolls are threatening the ability for these independent software companies to do business. Meaning, bigger companies who have the assets to pay the extortion money will end up being the winners. Independent software companies will either go out of business or get gobbled up by bigger companies. Both scenarios equal less choice for real estate professionals.”

Regarding VC backed companies like Trulia and Zillow, Robertson said, “whether you like them or not, they are the ones really investing and leading on the innovation side. So we are all in this fight together. The consequences are clear; less choice and less innovation.”
Bad patents and bad patent lawsuits are not just a problem for the tech industry. They're hitting pretty much every industry these days, and those who support a totally broken patent system and the awful patents they produce are doing serious harm to innovation and the economy.

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  1. identicon
    darryl, 10 Aug 2011 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Auther does not know about patents or software engineering !

    its a shame the real world does not work like that, I am paid and paid well for making sure the products that I engineer work as required.

    I do not ship bugs, and my clients to not accept software with bugs, my clients also do not care about getting it quicker or cheaper. They want something that WORKS.

    I can provide that to them, and they pay me very well for my services.

    I do not work for a company, or hide in the background I own my own engineering company and provide contract engineering projects, providing turnkey systems, so I am responsible for all aspects of the design, hardware, software, programming, fault finding, testing and certification.

    I have to turn down clients because I have too much work to do, (and I dont feel like working that hard, and I dont need too).

    I charge a very high rate, and my clients are more than happy to engage my services.

    Yes, I can 'walk the walk' as well as 'talk the talk', how about you ?

    The article about these patents clearly states that they are 'software patents' but if you were interested enough to read the patent, and knowledable enough to understand it, you would see clearly that this patent has nothing to do with software, but is a method of achieving a particular result.

    Read the patent, and do your best to understand them. !!!!!

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