Zillow, a Seattle-based real estate company with listings in Colorado and throughout the country, filed two lawsuits against its rival Compass on April 19. The suits allege that Compass violated the intellectual property of Zillow in addition to poaching employees who violated their non-compete agreements. The lawsuits were filed in both state and federal court, and ex-employees named were accused of stealing things like customer lists, sales data, and highly technical information.
According to the federal lawsuit, Compass deliberately targeted Zillow personnel and information by opening offices in the Seattle area in 2018. Several other companies have also filed suits against Compass, alleging that the company engaged in similar predatory practices. In a statement to the press, Zillow said that it supports healthy competition in the industry but has the responsibility to defend its intellectual property when needed.
A controversial part of these lawsuits are the enforcement of the non-compete agreements. Proponents of these agreements believe that they play an important role in protecting trade secrets while critics claim they stifle innovation. While Zillow is the plaintiff in this particular lawsuit, it has been subject to lawsuits from other companies in the past claiming infringement.
Companies or individuals trying to protect their trade secrets and other intellectual property can benefit from legal representation. An attorney can help file for a patent or trademark and can bring lawsuits in the event of infringement. It is an evolving and at times complex area of the law, and an experienced attorney can advise clients with respect to new developments and strategies.