David Eraker has filed two lawsuits against the company he co-founded, Redfin. The first suit states that Redfin and its partner, Matterport, had copied technology that was patented previously by Eraker’s newer company, Surefield. The second suit demands monetary damages and that Redfin ceases using the technology in question.
Eraker claims that Redfin, which he left in 2006, has been utilizing his patented technology, costing him millions of dollars. The patented technology creates 3D virtual tours of spaces.
Court documents state that Surefiled was:
“The first company to offer commercial image-based rendering for the creation of online 3D home tours that combined photorealism and spatial navigation amongst other features.”
Redfin claims to also be the first of its kind and offers eerily similar capabilities, something that has not made it past Eraker's attention.
This kind of technology is now, more than ever, popular with a number of property portals around the world. With shelter-in-place orders still in effect, companies have turned to virtual tours to facilitate homebuying regardless of whether or not the parties are in quarantine.
Eraker’s lawsuit states that both Redfin and Matterport have launched their own versions of this same technology shortly after Surefield did. Eraker believes that their versions of the 3D virtual tours are copies of his patented technology.
The suit later adds that:
“Not only is the Redfin-Matterport image-based 3D rendering service similar in appearance to Surefield’s, but there is evidence that this service utilizes a strikingly similar technical implementation to the one first disclosed and used by Surefield, which is further indicative that it was copied from Surefield’s first-to-market service.”
Redfin and Matterport aren’t the only teams in the hot seat. Eraker has also pointed fingers at Madrona’s Managing Director, Paul Goodrich, claiming he filed a provisional patent application for technology under the table- technology that Eraker developed while Madrona was considered a Series A investor in Redfin.
The lawsuit states that Madrona:
“Kept [the provisional application] off of Redfin’s books before and after the Series A investment, and assigned the application to Redfin only after Mr. Eraker had been ousted from the company.”
We’ve reported a number of times, how much traction Matterport has gotten since the beginning of the pandemic. The company has seen sales for its 3D cameras skyrocket and property portals everywhere have been turning to the company to provide virtual tour capabilities for their agents and users to utilize. Matterport has even released an app for iOS that offers a more user-friendly virtual tour creator.