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Sep 23, 2019

***IBM sues Zillow over multiple charges of patent infringement

IBM alleges in the lawsuit that Zillow built its business on software developed by IBM


The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Zillow essentially built its business on the back of IBM’s inventions.


“Rather than build their business on their own technologies, Zillow has appropriated the inventions of the [patents named in the lawsuit],” the complaint reads. “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.”


The lawsuit specifically points to patents covering the use of algorithms for computing the desirability of a geographic area using dynamic imaging; methods for providing geospatial, list-based and filter-based search; the use of layers to display multiple object categories; automatically targeting advertisements to individual search results rather than search queries; and a host of other, more technical patents.


*ADD: Zillow Offers launched Monday in San Antonio and Austin, the platform’s 18th and 19th markets



***Fed lowers interest rates again. Will mortgage rates follow?

Economists and agents offered different opinions on how the 2nd rate cut of the year will impact housing market


The Fed is cutting interest rates 25 basis points from between 2 percent and 2.25 percent to between 1.75 percent and 2 percent. It had previously signaled it would not hike rates at all in 2019 – after four rate hikes in 2018 – but now it actually cut rates for the second time.



***Foreclosure starts plummet to 18-year low

Loans in active foreclosure sinks to lowest level since 2005


Foreclosure starts in August sank to their lowest level in more than 18 years, according to the latest First Look report from Black Knight.


Foreclosure starts fell to 36,200 for the month, down more than 23% from the same time last year, the report showed. This is actually the lowest number for any single month since December 2000.


In fact, the number of loans in active foreclosure continued to improve, dropping to 253,000. This represents the smallest level since 2005.




***Compass launches new consumer search tools, says IPO 'likely'  & Compass opens West Coast tech hub 2 blocks from Amazon’s headquarters

Robert Reffkin announced Monday that Compass has new, artificial intelligence-driven tools that will give consumers home recommendations and let them collaborate with their agents


Compass, a real estate brokerage and tech company, opened an office in Seattle that’s two blocks from Amazon’s headquarters and a mile from Zillow’s main offices.

New York-based Compass now has three floors of a new building at 503 Westlake Avenue that will eventually house over 100 engineers and 70 operations staff. The Seattle campus will be Compass' West Coast technology hub and will be the nexus of the company's six regional offices in Washington, the company said in a statement.



***Airbnb IPO - coming in 2020

  Short-term rental platform Airbnb has announced plans to launch an initial public offering in 2020 — a disclosure linked to the firm’s ambition to turn hosts into partial owners, The New York Times reported.

Airbnb’s IPO is expected to be better received than the recent public offerings of some tech behemoths, including Uber and Lyft. And if special equity-sharing with hosts is part of the deal, the IPO could also chart a new way to cut more stakeholders in on the success of gig economy companies.

“Airbnb has something Uber and Lyft don’t have: a proven, sustainable business model,” Matt Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist with Renaissance Capital, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It will be a refreshing change of pace to actually get a $30-billion-plus company that has some profits.”

Airbnb was valued at $31 billion by its investors in September 2017, Inc. reported.


*Airbnb invests $25 million in Bay Area affordable housing