BETHESDA, MD -- CoStar Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGP), the leading provider of information services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry, today announced that it has settled a copyright infringement and breach of contract lawsuit filed against Defendants MIE Properties, Inc., a Maryland-based real estate investment company, and Commercial Search, LLC, a Colorado-based online provider of commercial real estate information.
MIE Properties, Inc. and Commercial Search, LLC agreed to certain restrictions on their business operations as part of the final settlement, and CoStar will receive a financial settlement of $50,000. CoStar reached settlement with MIE Properties on January 24, 2001 and resolved the suit against Commercial Search in November 2000. The lawsuit was filed after CoStar learned that MIE Properties, a licensee of CoStar's proprietary, copyrighted Maryland database, had been working with Commercial Search to build a web site offering information about commercial real estate properties located in Maryland. CoStar conducted an extensive investigation when allegations of misuse were first raised.
Shortly after CoStar filed the suit, the Defendants consented to a preliminary injunction. The injunction required them to destroy or return all CoStar databases or information taken from CoStar databases in their possession, custody or control, including all directories or databases built using such materials. The Defendants ceased operations of the Maryland commercial real estate web site.
"We are pleased with this resolution. We filed suit because of the weight of the evidence and the seriousness of the allegations. CoStar has designed a multifaceted research process and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the most comprehensive databases available on commercial real estate," said Andrew C. Florance, President and CEO of CoStar Group, Inc. "We must protect the integrity of our database assets and the value of our investment."
Florance added. "We have a responsibility to protect our clients' interests. Customers pay CoStar subscription fees to access our databases. They view our information as a competitive advantage and allocate part of their hard earned revenues to benefit from CoStar's products. Any company that unlawfully tries to duplicate our data threatens the competitive advantage our customer base enjoys."
To highlight the importance of protecting intellectual property rights, CoStar has elected to donate a portion of the settlement proceeds to The American Society of Media Photographers, Inc. (ASMP), an organization that promotes and protects photographers' rights. ASMP plans to allocate this donation to its Legal Action Fund, which provides financial support in cases that affect photographers' and other copyright owners' interests.
"CoStar is fortunate to have the capital to aggressively protect its intellectual property, including our digital images and comprehensive databases," commented Florance. "CoStar decided to donate a significant portion of the proceeds to ASMP since there are thousands of artists that do not have the financial resources to obtain the same level of protection as CoStar."
About CoStar Group, Inc.
Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, CoStar Group, Inc. is the leading provider of information services to the U.S. commercial real estate industry. CoStar's suite of products offers customers access to the most comprehensive, verified database of U.S. commercial real estate information in over 50 markets. The Company has approximately 1,000 employees and contractors nationally, including approximately 700 highly trained commercial real estate research professionals in 27 offices.