Compass, ZillowZillow filed suit Friday against Compass, alleging that the high-tech brokerage poached three employees from the company in a bid to abscond with intellectual property.

Robert Chen

Two suits were filed — one in federal court and one in Washington state — claiming that the three employees had signed contracts with 12-month non-compete and non-disclosure clauses. The three employees — Chester Millisock Jr., Robert Chen, and Michael Hania — are also named in the suit.

“This calculated theft was designed by Compass to help it better compete with Zillow in the marketplace, at Zillow’s expense, and so Compass could avoid the expense of independently developing valuable machine learning and other technologies,” the federal suit said.

“Compass actively recruited these employees in order to avoid the costs associated with open and honest competition and to obtain Zillow’s confidential and proprietary information,” Zillow accuses.

Chester Millisock Jr.

The suit also alleges that Chen took photos of  “proprietary wireframes and a proposed regional launch timeline related to certain Zillow services.”

The federal suit names Chen, the state court suit names Millisock and Hania. The lawsuit alleges that Millisock transferred confidential information to a personal Dropbox account, and then attempted to delete evidence that he used the account.

“Mr. Millisock still has access to the information stored in his Dropbox account and remains able to access the misappropriated software data from other devices,” the court documents state.

Hania, Zillow alleges, sent emails with confidential and/or proprietary information from his Zillow email account to his personal email account “in the months, weeks and days before he left employment with Zillow.” (more…)

It was the shot heard round the real estate world, but if you’re not a Realtor, you may not have heard about it — a group of home sellers has filed suit against the National Association of REALTORS® and four major real estate broker franchisors.

Why? Because of buyer broker commissions and the requirement to use the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS.

The suit, filed last week in Chicago, claims that the NAR and top brokerages Realogy, HomeServices of America, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams Realty violated federal antitrust laws by requiring home sellers to pay a broker to represent the buyer of their homes and to pay for this service to the tune of at least a three percent commission. (more…)