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Move, Inc. Wins a Crucial Patent Victory for the Real Estate Industry
Move, Inc., announced a final victory in its decade-long patent dispute with Real Estate Alliance Ltd. SANTA CLARA, Calif., (Nov. 8, 2018) -- Move, Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp and operator of realtor.com®, announced today a final victory in its decade-long patent dispute with Real Estate Alliance Ltd. ("REAL") with the U.S. Supreme Court's Nov. 5 decision to deny REAL's petition to review a U.S. District Court's summary judgment in favor of Move. "This is a win not only for Move and realtor.com® but also the entire real estate industry," said Move CEO Ryan O'Hara. "REAL used the patent litigation system to target real estate professionals and companies who were engaging consumers in today's dynamic online environment. We are very proud to have championed this cause in support of the real estate industry, and the successful resolution of this case will benefit the professionals in that industry and the consumers they serve." In 2005, REAL sued a real estate broker and Move customer for patent infringement and then sought to create a class of patent infringement defendants comprised of realtor.com® customers. In response, Move sued REAL in April 2007, seeking to prove that realtor.com® and other real estate-related websites do not infringe on two REAL-owned patents related to online real estate property searches, which Move also asserted to be invalid. REAL responded by filing patent infringement claims against Move, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and numerous additional real estate agents, brokers, MLSs, home builders, rental companies, and technology providers based, in part, on their use of realtor.com®. In 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered summary judgment that realtor.com® did not infringe REAL's patents and additionally found both patents invalid. After the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court, REAL filed a petition seeking review of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court denied REAL's petition on Nov. 5, 2018, that decision ended the 11-year old case with a complete victory for Move, NAR, NAHB and the other defendants. "We are very pleased with the District Court's decision, as affirmed by the Federal Circuit, which confirmed our position that the claims in the patents were invalid and that the patents should not have been issued. Move, at its own expense, defended the real estate industry from REAL, which was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing fees," said James Caulfield, General Counsel of Move. While Move recognizes and respects the valid intellectual property rights of others, this litigation demonstrates that Move is committed to vigorously defending itself against false allegations of infringement, Caulfield added. About Move, Inc. Move, Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV], provides access to unsurpassed real estate information, tools and professional expertise across a family of websites and mobile experiences for consumers and real estate professionals through all stages of the home journey. It has a perpetual license to operate realtor.com® from the National Association of REALTORS®. The Move network includes realtor.com®, The Home of Home Search, as well as Opcity, Doorsteps®, Moving.com™ and SeniorHousingNet. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today helps make all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Move also offers a complete solution of software products and services to help real estate professionals serve their clients and grow their business in a digital world, including ListHub™, the nation's leading listings syndicator and centralized intelligence platform for the real estate industry; Top Producer® Systems; FiveStreet℠ and Reesio as well as many free services. For more information, visit realtor.com.
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As House Passes Middle-Class Tax Increase, Realtors Say Their Work is Just Getting Started
WASHINGTON (November 16, 2017) – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," a bill National Association of Realtors® President Elizabeth Mendenhall has called an all-out assault on homeownership. Mendenhall issued the following statement: "It's disappointing to see this legislation move forward, but the real work to shape this debate is just getting started. Realtors® will now look to the Senate as we make our case that the tax reform proposals pending before Congress overwhelmingly remove the tax incentive to purchase and own a home in America. "This is about much more than a cap on the mortgage interest deduction. Rather, it is about whether homeowners will have the rug pulled out from under them with a tax system that suddenly favors renting over owning in a big way. "Make no mistake, middle-class homeowners will see their home values fall if this proposal moves forward, while large corporations walk away with the bulk of the tax cuts. "American homeowners shouldn't have to pay for corporate tax cuts with their home equity. It's a matter of basic fairness; 1.3 million Realtors® have known since the beginning, and America's 75 million homeowners are just beginning to learn, that homeowners will be the ones paying the tab. Realtors® will do our part to spread the word as we work with the Senate to address this impending assault on homeownership." The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Millions of Middle-Income Homeowners Stand to Lose Under 'Big 6' Tax Proposal
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Homeownership a Common Interest, Deserves Protection in Tax Reform Debate
WASHINGTON (September 14, 2017) – Tax reform done right could yield savings and simplification that benefits average Americans, but history shows that misguided reforms can pose significant threats to the economy. That's the message the National Association of REALTORS® brought to Congress today as Iona Harrison, chair of NAR's Federal Taxation Committee, testified before the Senate Finance Committee. At the hearing, titled "Individual Tax Reform," Harrison told senators that putting homeownership in the crosshairs of tax reform would strike at millions of American households. "Real estate is the most widely held category of assets that American families own, and for many Americans, it's the largest portion of their family's net worth," Harrison said. "As 64 percent of American households are owner-occupied, we believe that homeownership is not a special interest, but is rather a common interest." Over the past year, proposals for tax reform have included the elimination of important benefits like the state and local tax deduction, a near doubling of the standard deduction – which would all but nullify the benefits of the mortgage interest deduction – as well as caps to the MID. REALTORS® have warned lawmakers that proposals to limit or nullify the tax incentives for homeownership could actually raise taxes on millions of middle class homeowners while putting the value of their homes at risk. In her testimony, Harrison responded to critics of real estate deductions, who often claim those deductions benefit only a small number of wealthy individuals. Harrison noted: 70 percent of the value of real property tax deductions in 2014 went to taxpayers with incomes less than $200,000; 53 percent of individuals claiming the itemized deduction for real estate taxes in 2014 earned less than $100,000; 32.7 million tax filers claimed a deduction for mortgage interest in 2015; Half of taxpayers with mortgages over $500,000 have AGI below $200,000., according to research conducted for NAR. To that end, Harrison reminded the committee that tax reform efforts in the late 1980's were fraught with unintended consequences that delivered a broadside to the economy and only offered brief tax relief. "When Congress last undertook major tax reform in 1986, it eliminated or significantly changed a large swath of tax provisions, including major real estate provisions, in order to lower rates, only to increase those rates just five years later in 1991," said Harrison. "Most of the eliminated tax provisions never returned and in the case of real estate, a major recession followed." Despite the REALTORS®' concerns raised during the hearing, Harrison reminded Senators that REALTORS® do support tax reform. "Homeowners already pay 83 percent of all federal income taxes, and reform that raises their taxes is a failed effort," said Harrison. "But NAR supports the goals of simplification and structural improvements for the tax system, and individual tax rates should be as low as possible while still providing for a balanced fiscal policy. We simply believe that to achieve these goals, Congress should commit first to doing no harm to the common interest that homeownership provides." The National Association of REALTORS®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Larson Skinner PLLC announces promotion of Camille M. Beshara to member of the firm
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Realtors Claim Victory against Patent Abuse with Settlement
  WASHINGTON (September 20, 2016) – The National Association of Realtors® is declaring a major victory against patent abuse in a settlement with Data Distribution Technologies, a subsidiary of the patent enforcement firm General Patent Corporation. DDT sued and threatened several real estate businesses in the past over use of a technology-related patent, but NAR challenged the patent's validity before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit on behalf of NAR members. NAR's advocacy on behalf of its membership culminated in a settlement requiring DDT to refrain from enforcing its patent in the real estate industry; the covenant included in the settlement specifically notes that NAR members, associations, MLSs, affiliates, and other related entities are protected from potentially costly litigation. Tom Salomone, NAR President and broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, doubled down on the association's commitment to combating patent abuse and called the settlement a win for Realtors®. "When Realtors® fall victim to abuses in the patent system, NAR is going to have their back," he said. "We're hopeful that today's settlement will remind patent trolls across the country that this type of exploitation is unacceptable and won't go unanswered." DDT claimed their patent, titled "Web-Updated Database With Record Distribution By Email," covered systems that provide agents and consumers with online searchable real estate databases that can update users via email about new information that comes available on those databases. NAR considered DDT's patent invalid and enforcement of it an overly broad and thinly-veiled effort to exploit real estate businesses for licensing fees with the threat of high-cost litigation. Although the settlement marks a victory for NAR, Salomone acknowledged that additional work is required to broadly reform the patent system. "NAR believes in the protection of legitimate intellectual property rights, but we're ready and willing to invalidate frivolous patent claims aimed at our members," he Salomone. "To fully defend business owners across the country, however, we need significant reforms to the system that offer robust protections against patent trolls. We're urging legislators to take a hard look at that in the months ahead." NAR has long supported efforts in Congress to make common sense patent litigation reforms that foster innovation and investment while benefiting the whole of the American economy. According to NAR, 2015 saw the most patent disputes in history, with patent trolls composing nearly 67 percent of patent litigation that same year. The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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NAR-backed Condo Legislation Passes U.S. Senate, Offers Relief for Homebuyers
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Commercial Drone Use Set to Take Flight with Release of FAA Rule
  WASHINGTON (June 21, 2016) — Commercial drone use in the real estate business got a boost today with the release of the Federal Aviation Administration's final rule governing small unmanned aerial systems, or UASs, in the national air space. Drones are increasingly being used in commercial applications, but federal regulations have required commercial drone operators to apply for a "Section 333" waiver from the FAA before they can fly. Over 5,000 waivers were issued to commercial entities, a significant portion of which were used for the real estate business, but only licensed pilots were eligible to fly commercially. FAA rules released today create a clearer pathway for real estate professionals to use drones for commercial purposes, a prospect that National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone called a win for the industry. "We've worked hard to strike a responsible balance that protects the safety and privacy of individuals, while also ensuring real estate professionals can put drones to good use," said Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. "That effort just took another big step forward. The rules unveiled today will help more real estate professionals take flight, making the efficiency and innovation that drones have to offer available to a much broader base of operators." The FAA's announcement marks a long-fought victory for for the National Association of Realtors®. Since early 2014, NAR has worked with the FAA and industry partners to integrate drones into the national airspace for commercial use. NAR wrote to the FAA on numerous occasions to weigh in on the final Small UAS Rule, and testified before Congress to support the use of drones in real estate. Despite eliminating the requirement that operators hold a pilot's license, anyone looking to fly drones commercially will still have to comply with strict requirements designed to protect people on the ground. Drones are useful in a number of real estate-related applications, including marketing properties, assisting with appraisals, facilitating insurance claims and overseeing utility work. While many real estate professionals with pilot's licenses have already put drones to use in these arenas, the new rules are expected to open the door for additional operators to do the same. Despite the significant progress made in the FAA's final rule, NAR's work on this issue will continue. NAR is calling for eased restrictions on a "micro" category of drones; drones in this category weigh less than four pounds and present a much smaller safety risk than certain drones in the under-55 pound category covered by the rule released today. NAR also believes there is an ongoing need for a drone strategy that allows for "beyond visual line-of-sight" flights, or those where the operator cannot physically see the drone throughout the entire operation. These flights are particularly important for aerial photography across large buildings or tracts of land. Salomone praised the FAA for their efforts in crafting the rule. "Getting here wasn't easy, and the FAA is to be commended for listening to the concerns of real estate professionals throughout the rulemaking process," he said. "We're entering a new stage of drone use in real estate, and no doubt there will be additional questions and challenges ahead. NAR will continue educating its members on issues important to the safe, responsible use of drones so they can grow their business and better serve their clients." The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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Move, Inc.-Zillow Lawsuit Settled
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Move, Inc. Responds to Ruling on Motion Regarding Spoliation
  SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 18, 2016 -- Move, Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp, today provided the following statement in response to Judge O'Donnell's ruling on its motion regarding spoliation in the company's ongoing trade secrets litigation with Zillow, Inc. and former Move employees Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley: "This important ruling validates our claim that one of Zillow's top executives, Curt Beardsley, acted with 'willfulness and bad faith' in destroying evidence, and his actions have 'prejudiced plaintiffs' ability to prosecute their case.' We welcome the judge's decision that there will be a jury instruction, which will allow the jury to 'infer the missing evidence would have benefited plaintiff's case or alternatively hurt the defendant's.' The judge also addressed Mr. Beardsley's claim that his misconduct was motivated by his embarrassment about pornography use by noting that 'the logical corollary to his decision to delete pornography is that he would be equally motivated to cover up his alleged perfidy in connection with misappropriated Move documents.' Today's decision, when combined with the powerful evidence that has not been destroyed, will help us prove our case that our trade secrets were stolen and abused by the defendants to their advantage. This case has cost Zillow – and their shareholders – more than $40 million so far, making the two poached executives among the most expensive in corporate history.  And one of those senior executives was found by this court to have engaged in 'egregious' conduct that represents 'an undermining' of the principles which make our system of justice work:  'honesty, fairness and compliance with the rule of law.' That Zillow, which has known of such wrongful conduct for many months, has continued to employ someone like this as one of its chief ambassadors to the real estate industry raises serious questions. We look forward to presenting all these issues to the jury beginning on June 6.  We believe that this decision is an important first step toward holding the defendants accountable for their harmful and unlawful behavior." About Move, Inc. and realtor.com® Move, Inc. operates the realtor.com® website and mobile experiences, which provide buyers, sellers and renters of homes with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to discover and create their perfect home. News Corp [NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] acquired Move in November 2014, and realtor.com® quickly established itself as the fastest growing online real estate service provider as measured by comScore.
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C.A.R. Applauds Signing of AB 345 Into Law
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Real Estate Agreements of Purchase and Sale Can Be Signed Electronically as of July 1
TORONTO, ON. June 29, 2015 — The Government of Ontario announced today that real estate consumers will be permitted to use electronic signatures on real estate agreements of purchase and sale (APS) as of July 1st, 2015. "The agreement of purchase and sale is one of the most important documents in a real estate transaction," said Patricia Verge, Ottawa-area REALTOR® and president of OREA. "The ability to sign it electronically will make the process of buying or selling more efficient. This is great news for REALTORS® as well as consumers across the province." Electronic signatures on agreements of purchase and sale will significantly reduce the time required to process a deal. At present, agreements of purchase and sale are often faxed, scanned and emailed numerous times over the course of a transaction. "This process can be cumbersome and by the time the final version is signed, the agreement can be difficult to read," said Verge. "The technology allows agreements to be filled out on a computer or tablet, changes can be tracked and documents can be transmitted with ease." The government's decision comes in the form of proclamation of a 2013 amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 (ECA), which extended the legal protections of the Act to include electronic real estate agreements of purchase and sale. The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for the ECA. The Ministry led the consultations and approved the final proclamation of the amendment. "Buying or selling a home is one of the most complex, time-consuming transactions that most people make -- it's also one of the most important," said Attorney General, Madeleine Meilleur. "I hope that this change will open the door to new and innovative processes that will ultimately make the experience easier and less stressful for families." "The government has taken the time to get this issue right," said Verge. "Extensive consultations were hosted to ensure that both the industry as well as the public were well served by the move to electronic signatures. Thank you to Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur for her leadership on this important issue." About the Ontario Real Estate Association The Ontario Real Estate Association represents over 60,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the province's 40 real estate boards. OREA serves its members through a wide variety of publications, education programs and special services. The association provides all real estate licensing courses in Ontario.
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E-Signatures Now Legal in Ontario! Go Paperless with loadingDOCS and DealTap
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Realtors® Applaud New Net Neutrality Rules Preserving Equal Access to the Internet
  WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2015 -- The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Chris Polychron in support of new open Internet rules the Federal Communications Commission passed today: "Realtors® welcome the passage of the FCC's new rules to protect true net neutrality, which are essential to the modern business of real estate that is increasingly conducted online. Today's vote ensures that consumers will have equal, unencumbered access to the Internet and all legal content and applications, that cannot be blocked or throttled by Internet Service Providers. "NAR is pleased that the FCC will implement net neutral practices and prohibit paid prioritization, which would have created a two-tiered Internet and put Realtors® and other small business owners at a competitive disadvantage. The new rules are a victory for consumers, and for Realtors® who embrace technology and online resources to meet the needs of their clients." The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the "News, Blogs and Videos" tab on the website.
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ePropertySites, LLC agrees to settle against Listing-to-Leads, LLC
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Ruling: Online Application with e-Signature Qualifies as Written Rejection of Insurance Coverage
Ken Moyle, Chief Legal Officer and Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs, provides commentary on a recent ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court, affirming the lower court's granting of summary judgment in favor of GEICO, upholding the applicability of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act ("UETA") to a waiver of minimum medical coverage. Ken comments: The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed an order from the lower court granting summary judgment and dismissing a claim for medical benefits under an automobile insurance policy on the grounds that an electronically generated record containing an electronic signature meets the requirement that a rejection of no-fault coverage be "in writing" under Arkansas law. Barwick v. Government Employee Insurance Co., Inc., 2011 Ark. 128 (2011). When the appellant's wife purchased insurance coverage online with GEICO, she did not select coverage for medical benefits. Subsequent to that purchase, the appellant, a named insured on the policy, was involved in an accident and presented a claim for medical expenses, which GEICO denied. GEICO claimed the rejection of coverage was valid under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), found in Arkansas Code Annotated sections 25-32-101 to 120 (Repl. 2002 & Supp. 2009). The circuit court granted GEICO's motion for summary judgment, ruling that the online rejection of coverage and electronic signature satisfied the statutory requirement for a rejection of medical coverage to be in writing under the Arkansas Code. The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no conflict between the insurance statute and the Arkansas UETA statute and that read together, they mean that an electronic record fulfills the requirement of a written rejection of coverage. The UETA was intended to apply to all statues that require a writing or a signature. We rarely get to see case law that is so directly on point, since it is rare to have a case get to an appeals court that disputes the meaning of such a straightforward statute as the UETA. Some industries, such as the insurance industry, and government agencies believe that the UETA and the ESIGN Act apply to everyone but them, that some particular aspect of their governing rules excludes them from coverage of the overlay statutes. This has been observed in the insurance industry. This ruling makes clear that the statute means what it says. Click to access a copy of Barwick v. Government Employee Insurance Co., Inc., 2011 Ark. 128 (2011) Read the original article blog post.. Learn more about DocuSign.
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