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Citi Habitat Suing Robert Reffkin and Ori Allon’s Urban Compass for Stealing Trade Secrets


Robert Reffkin and Ori Allon’s Urban Compass, a tech-driven real estate platform, has been sued by Citi Habitat, New York’s largest real estate database, for stealing trade secrets.

In the law suit, which was filed last week in a New York State Supreme Court, City Habitat accused Urban Compass of hacking into its database of 12, 000 listings and that they also accessed information on landlords and sellers that is not made public.

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The suit has not yet specified the amount sought in damages.

Citi Habitat maintains that it has evidence that on at least 25 occasions computers with an IP address originating from Urban Compass made unauthorized accesses to their systems.

A request by Citi Habitat to prevent Urban Compass’s from continuing to develop its own software due to the use of Habitat’s information was denied by the court. But the judge, Jeffrey Oing, did agree to issue a restraining order that blocks Urban Compass from accessing the database.

The judge also agreed to speed up the discovery process.

Citi Habitat asserts that some of its many former employees who now work for Urban Compass, such as it former executive vice president Gordon Golub, were guilty of the breech and it wants access to their computers to search for evidence.

In an affidavit, Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats stated, “Given the many sales professionals that Urban Compass has recently poached from Citi Habitats, it may well be that Urban Compass reviewed the listing portfolio of each agent on the LEAR system before selecting whom to approach.”

Lear is Citi Habitat’s proprietary system called Listing Exchange Apartment Rentals.

Urban Compass has responded to the suit by saying that it is nothing but sour grapes on the part of Citi Habitat which is bitter over the loss of so many of its employees to a rival.

But this is not the only law suit that has been brought against Urban Compass so far this year.

Avi Dorfman is suing its founder and CEO Robert Reffkin for stealing his idea. Dorfman maintains that not only did he meet with Reffkin about promoting his own business RenJolt, which was a precursor to Urban Compass, but that Urban Compass now uses software and technology that he developed.



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