Microsoft Sued Over HomeAdvisor Site

A Florida inventor filed a civil lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. and Moore USA in Philadelphia Wednesday claiming the companies illegally used his patented point and click real estate property locator in two of their offerings.

Mark Tornetta claims his 1991 patented property and mapping technology is used on Microsoft’s HomeAdvisor site as well as Moore’s CyberHomes site.

Tornetta is asking for preliminary and permanent injunctions against both companies, seeking to stop infringement of his technology, his lawyers said. He also wants unspecified monetary damages awarded.

Tornetta said he previously tried to contact both Microsoft and Moore about the use of his patent. In his letters, Tornetta offered to license the patent to the companies, but both declined.

“Microsoft and Moore have deliberately chosen to ignore his rights, despite our efforts to reach agreements with them,” said Lawrence Husick, Tornetta’s lead attorney.

“We are asking the court to send a message that multi-billion dollar companies may not intentionally disregard the rights of small inventors like Mr. Tornetta,” Husick said.

Tornetta said he prefers to work with the companies as patent licensees rather than sue them.

“I want to work with them rather than fight them,” Tornetta said. “Millions of people deserve to find a new home in the easiest and best manner possible. The concepts protected in my patents allow them to do precisely that.”

Both companies named in the suit denied Tornetta’s claims and said they intended to mount a vigorous defense.

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