CoStar Sued Over Alleged Antitrust Violations
June 29, 2017
CoStar, a leading company providing data on commercial real estate, is facing accusations in an antitrust lawsuit that it has formed a monopoly in the commercial space. Xceligent, one of CoStar’s competitors, filed the suit on Wednesday, saying it wants to prevent CoStar from “blocking the commercial real estate industry’s ability to freely share” information with competitors. Industry insiders say the lawsuit has the potential to determine the future of how commercial property information is shared.
Xceligent, a REALTOR Benefits Program® partner, is accusing CoStar of violating restrictions the Federal Trade Commission had enacted against the firm in 2012 to prevent it from becoming a monopoly. However, CoStar CEO Andrew Florance claims Xceligent is attempting to steal and resell his company’s proprietary images and data.
Xceligent alleges CoStar “is contaminating broker listings and property data with fake data points,” falsifying data in private databases and on public listings that brokers post on LoopNet without notifying the broker or property owner about the change. Xceligent also accuses CoStar of preventing brokers and property owners from having exclusive rights to their information and sharing that information with CoStar competitors.
Xceligent says it is owed damages related to antitrust activities and defamation and is requesting the federal government to cease CoStar’s “decades-long monopoly” of commercial real estate information.
“We feel it’s our duty to protect the brokers’ rights to freely share their information and meet their fiduciary responsibilities to their clients,” says Xceligent CEO Doug Curry. “We gladly take up this fight, and we will not rest until the industry has clear safeguards against an obvious abuse of power by CoStar.”
CoStar objected to the characterization, saying Xceligent is the one acting in an "illegal" manner.
"Xceligent’s efforts to make this about broker-provided content and broker websites is contradicted by the facts. This is about industrial scale theft orchestrated by Xceligent in the U.S. and abroad," CoStar said in a statement that characterized the lawsuit as being without merit. "We look forward to our day in court. We are confident that a full airing of the facts at trial will prove Xceligent’s business plan is driven by the theft of CoStar’s content and that at all times CoStar has acted lawfully."
Source: “Xceligent Files Antitrust Suit Against CoStar, Alleges Years of Anticompetitive Behavior,” Forbes.com (June 28, 2017)
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the release of CoStar's statement.
Updated: June 20, 2018