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IBM Suing Zillow, Alleges 7 Patent Infringements

According to IBM allegations, it created a number of processes and algorithms that Zillow now uses without permission or payment to IBM.

SAN FRANCISCO – IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) filed a lawsuit against Zillow alleging that the real estate company largely runs on software technology created by IBM that Zillow did not pay for.

According to the complaint, “Rather than build their business on their own technologies, Zillow has appropriated the inventions of the [patents named in the lawsuit].” … The website,, and the associated mobile applications under Zillow’s control use the technology claimed by the [patents named in the lawsuit], to provide customers access to real estate listings and provide advertisements and other services for real estate agents.”

IBM says it tried, without success, to negotiate with Zillow over use of its patented technology, beginning in 2016, followed by more efforts over the next three years.

But IBM says in the complaint that “Zillow has refused to engage in any meaningful discussions about reaching a license agreement to end their infringement … and has continued to willfully infringe IBM’s patents so as to obtain the significant benefits of IBM’s innovations without paying any compensation to IBM.”

Patent-related lawsuits aren’t new territory for IBM, which even says in the suit that while it routinely licenses its patents in many fields, it will enforce its rights against those who use its intellectual property unlawfully.

When contacted by Inman News, a Zillow spokesperson said the company believes IBM’s claims are without merit.

Source: Inman News, Sept. 18, 2019, Patrick Kearns