RISMEDIA, May 14, 2007-On May 9, 2007 in the United Stated District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, patent holder-plaintiffs in the infringement lawsuit REAL v Diane Sarkisian et al, filed a motion to compel and sanction the defendant for perjury in attempting to cover up her use of the patented mapping technology in her marketing of properties. The implications of this motion may have wide sweeping effect.This case originally filed in June of 2005, alleges that a RE/MAX agent in the Philadelphia area, Diane Sarkisian, infringed United States Patents 5032989 and 4870576, “Real Estate Search and Location System and Method,” which claim the use of interactive “zoomable” maps to locate available real estate. A subsequent Class Action motion filed in Feb. 2007 following discovery, defined two separate classes. If these classes are certified: Realtor.com and TREND, (an MLS organization servicing this market), the liability and damages assessed for this one agent could extend to hundreds of thousands of agents across the country.
According to documents filed by the plaintiff this week, the alleged perjury centers on the very heart of the factual substance of this case. In its motion the plaintiff points to evidence of the Web site www.DianeSarkisian.net. According to official domain registration records the site is owned and controlled by Sarkisian. A review of the site submitted by the plaintiff demonstrates a click-by-click walk through that allows users to see real estate listings via “Smart Map” technology (from WhereToLive.com.) Along with Sarikisian’s picture and contact information, her real estate listings (and all others in the TREND MLS) appear plotted on the interactive zoomable maps.
In supporting the motion, REAL cites its original discovery requests in January 2006, which mandated identification of any and all Web sites or marketing activities utilized by, or known to the defendant that employ zoomable maps in the location of real estate properties. No mention of DianeSarkisian.net was provided in the defendant’s sworn answers.
According to the documents, REAL quotes the sworn deposition of Sarkisian taken in March 2006 in which the defendant, in response to direct questions, claims only to control and own the site DianeSarkisian.com. When asked, “Are there any other Web sites where you advertise yourself and your properties,” she responded, “I don’t remember.” When asked, “Do you have any contractual relationships with any other organizations that would allow you to advertise in that way,” she said, “Not that I can remember.” The plaintiff cites more than 60 similar lapses during the deposition as further evidence of Sarkisian’s evasiveness and intent to conceal.
In addition to the federal penalty for perjury, the plaintiff is seeking sanctions against the counsel for its role in the ongoing cover-up. The defendant now has an opportunity respond to these allegations before the judge decides the motion.