I’m really excited about the program that our firm has worked on with John Rees and Chris Osborn for the CMLS legal counsel seminar, held in conjunction with the CMLS annual conference in Tucson in October. I will be leading the capstone panel discussion for the day, and Mitch Skinner in our office will be giving a presentation on key issues in data license agreements (such as RPR and CoreLogic InfoNet agreements). But there’s lots of other great stuff on the program. I’ve reproduced the current version of the draft agenda below. You can register here (but this program is only for licensed attorneys).

If you have questions, please feel free to post them here or contact me via the usual means.

CMLS Legal Counsel Seminar

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, Tucson, AZ
Session for lawyers only, please (CLE credits applied for in attendee states, where available)

Morning SessionS

8:30 a.m. MLS rules and regulations and antitrust laws
Speaker: Thomas Brown, O’Melveny & Myers LLP (San Francisco)

This program will review the principles under which an industry trade group, particularly one in the technology space like an MLS, can appropriately regulate its members without running afoul of competition regulators. Audience discussion and question and answer to follow.

10:00 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. Patent law and real estate technology
Speaker: TBD

This program will cover the basics of patent law, including subject matter and validity of patents. It will specifically address some patents that have been at issue in the real estate industry, including CIVIX, College.net v. Marketlinx, and others. The program will briefly address due diligence for avoiding infringement, outline of patent infringement litigation.

11:30 a.m. MLS data licensing
Speaker: Mitchell Skinner, Larson/Sobotka PLLC

Mr. Skinner has negotiated and drafted numerous license agreements between MLSs and third parties using comprehensive listing data for real estate analytic products (such as CoreLogic and RPR) and will discuss major issues in such contracts, using an annotated copy of the RPR agreement as a focus for the discussion. The audience will be invited to take part in identifying best practices.

Working Lunch

12:30 p.m. Ralph Holmen, NAR Deputy General Counsel

Mr. Holmen will discuss the recent CIVIX patent litigation and license and his impressions of important legal issues on the horizon for MLSs. The audience will be invited to take part in a discussion of current and horizon issues.

Afternoon Sessions

1:45 p.m. Business Issues Update: Listing Syndication
Speaker: Merri Jo Cowen, Board Chair, CMLS
Moderator: Chris Osborn, Foster Pepper PLLC

A CMLS board member will present an overview of listing syndication, addressing business issues and concerns from the operational perspective. Mr. Osborn will moderate an audience discussion of legal questions and issues.

2:45 p.m. Real estate and social media
Speaker: John Rees, Callister Nebeker & McCollough

Mr. Rees will identify legal and ethical issues relating to social media use by MLSs and uses of those media by real estate brokers that have implications for MLSs.

3:30 p.m. Break

3:45 p.m. “Blind spots”
Moderator: Brian Larson, Larson/Sobotka PLLC
Panelists: Presenters/moderators from earlier sessions; Courtney Dyer, O’Melveny & Myers LLP (Washington DC)

Panelists and audience members will attempt to identify legal issues that may be in the “blind spots” of MLS executives and managers. Each panelist will briefly identify a concern; audience and panelists will discuss the audience concerns during a moderated open forum session. Results of the discussions may be reported to the full CMLS conference later.

By 4:45 p.m. Adjourn

Reader Interactions


  1. brian would you explain to me how rpr and corelogics storage and retrieval of sold information wont result in the largerst class action lawsuit in the world. vary few associations have paragraphs in their sales contract for the buyers and sellers to agree to let the mls/association use the sale date in the conduct of their (mls ) business. i have had this discusiion and was told the listing

  2. Randy: There are lots of ways of looking at this, but let's just take one: The information in MLS is not confidential or private in any legal sense of the words. MLS comes by the data legally and without an obligation not to disclose it, except its self-imposed obligation not to distribute listings without listing broker permission. MLS is therefore able to distribute the data for any purpose