Trademark Infringement, Walk-Through Theft

Online Back Officer Provider Dotloop Sued for Trademark Infringement

Cincinnati based Dotloop, an online real estate transaction software provider, has been used for trademark infringement by San Francisco based LoopNet. LoopNet provides an online marketplace for commercial real estate. Dotloop says that trademarks and names incorporating the term “Loop” are not the exclusive of LoopNet.

This suit follows one by the California Association of Realtors over the use of their proprietary forms in Dotloop’s software suite. Over 50 Realtor associations have licensed their forms to be used in the software.

The cases highlight the growing risk of intellectual property infringement on real estate agents and brokers. While most focus on their real estate errors and omissions insurance, many are overlooking their IP risk. Standard “package” or general liability can cover some intellectual property risk if structured correctly. Real estate brokers should ensure that they have full limits for “personal and advertising injury”, which offers basic coverage for allegations of trademark, trade dress and copyright infringement. The coverage can also provide coverage for libel, slander, invasion of privacy and certain misappropriation of likeness claims. Most policies only cover claims resulting from your advertising, which is fairly broad for the real estate profession.

Contact today to discuss better protecting your brokerage from errors and omissions, intellectual property and other emerging risks.

Agent Blamed for Theft During Walk-Through

A Jacksonville Beach, Florida real estate agent is being sued for allegedly allowing his clients to steal from a home they toured.  The sellers were out to dinner, and an agent took his clients through the house to consider a purchase.  According to the police report, when the owners of the home returned, they found that items had been stolen and their bedroom drawers rifled through.  The agent and the real estate agency is denying direct responsibility and working with the police.

It is important to note that while a real estate agent may not be required to walk with their client through a home, the agent may be liable for stolen property or damage while their clients are there.  It is a best practice to keep in close proximity to all clients and to protect the homes agents walk through.  If damage is noticed, it is best to notify the seller’s agent to alert them – lest your firm be blamed for the damage.

Another item to pay close attention to is how your insurance handles lockbox damage claims.  Insurance companies general limit the coverage they will provide for lockbox claims.  It is important to note how your policy will respond in a claim. Contact us for a complimentary review of your current coverage and additional tips on protecting your firm.