Redfin Founder Sues Redfin for Patent Infringement

Tuesday, 12. May 2020 01:01

SEATTLE, May 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- David Eraker filed legal action today to stop Redfin Corporation (Redfin), the company he founded in 2002, from infringing on image-based rendering patents owned by Surefield, a company he founded in 2012. Eraker is the third Redfin co-founder to file suit against the company.

“Surefield’s image-based rendering approach was a first-to-market solution to a critical last mile problem in residential real estate, which is to get people into houses, and Redfin quickly copied it,” said Eraker.

At issue is a specific type of 3D model for online home tours that benefits brokers by facilitating a streamlined approach to listings and enables direct offers that bypass costly buyer’s agent commissions. The technology leverages state-of-the-art advances in image-based rendering and 3D reconstruction to automatically create models of a home for real estate sales that are both photorealistic and spatially navigable. Eraker claims that Redfin copied aspects of the online home tour Surefield launched in April 2014.

Four months after Surefield launched its 3D home tour in 2014, Redfin released 3D Walkthrough, based on the same image-based rendering technology even while employing a similar user interface. Redfin introduced the tool in 22 states and continues to host it in 85 major metro areas across the United States and Canada today. When Redfin’s 3D Walkthrough was released, some news reports called it “similar” to Surefield’s offering while other online commentators stated that aspects of Surefield’s website design had even been “jacked” by their technology provider Matterport.

The 3D home tour Surefield launched in 2014 was a first-to-market version of what the company disclosed in its 2013 provisional filing (U.S. Appl. No. 61/895,978). Surefield has subsequently been awarded claims by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. Patent Nos. 9,836,885; 10,102,673; 10,510,111; and 10,592,973) for its image-based rendering system, covering the use of composited images such as rendered panoramas, 3D reconstruction approaches to determining the geometry of a home, spatial data labels, and dynamically switching between multiple image-based rendering algorithms in the user interface to enable both photorealistic views of the home as well as different forms of spatial navigation and perspectives.

A claim for patent infringement was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in Waco and seeks damages and an injunction. According to the claim, Redfin has repeatedly refused to stop using Surefield’s patents and has declined to license them.

A second claim for misappropriation of intellectual property was filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle. According to the claim, Redfin and Madrona Venture Group LLC (Madrona) misappropriated intellectual property related to map-based search and other inventions dating from 2004 that are commonly used today in the iBuyer model of purchasing homes, where unsolicited offers are generated for unlisted homes. The use of map-based search for homes is now an industry standard. Madrona is named as a defendant in the claim along with Redfin.

About Surefield
Surefield was created to deliver better outcomes to home sellers by pricing right, shaving commissions and using online home tours to make the whole process easier. Surefield recently published the Insider’s Guide to Real Estate for free on its website, detailing how any home seller can maximize their net proceeds.  Learn more at www.surefield.com.

MEDIA CONTACT
Sam Butler
35thAvenuePartners for Surefield
sam@35thAvenuePartners.com
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