MARSHALL, TX –- www.HomeBuilderShowroom.com has filed a lawsuit against a group of homebuilders and home products manufacturers. The 72-page petition alleges the defendants committed trade secret theft, fraud, patent infringement and violated antitrust laws and confidentiality agreements in order to build its Builder Homesite website.
According to the lawsuit, HomeBuilderShowroom.com invented the "Builder's On-Line Assistant" in 1999. The revolutionary service was created as a means of using the Internet to connect homebuilders, manufacturers and homebuyers. The company's design allowed builders to offer standards and upgrades for homes as well as the opportunity for homebuyers to make their purchasing decisions online using virtual showrooms.
The owner of HomeBuilderShowroom.com – OLA, LLC, a privately held company based in Chicago – applied to patent the processes associated with "Builder's On-Line Assistant" in January 2000, and received two related patents in 2006 and 2007.
The lawsuit alleges that, prior to securing the patents, OLA reached confidentiality agreements with several of the defendants before providing a demonstration of "Builder's On-Line Assistant." Relying on the confidentiality agreements, the petition continues, OLA revealed details about its methods and service after receiving positive responses from several homebuilders and manufacturers.
However, according to the complaint, the defendants declined to purchase the service offered by OLA, and instead formed a new company that began marketing a nearly identical service in 2005 called "Envision."
The Austin, Texas-based company formed by the homebuilders and home products manufacturers – Builder Homesite Inc. – claims on its Web site that the "Envision" service has increased homebuilders' profits by $2,000 to $5,000 per home on more than 150,000 homes thus far. The same language is included on the Web site for New Home Technologies Inc., a Builder Homesite subsidiary.
Homebuilders named as defendants in the lawsuit include Beazer Homes, Centex, Weekley Homes, KB Home, Lennar, Pulte Homes, Standard Pacific and Toll Brothers.
Other defendents named in the suit include: Georgia-Pacific, Hearth & Home Technologies, Inc., Honeywell, Kohler, Masco Corporation, Therma-Tru Corp., Weyerhaeuser Company, Whirlpool Corporation and York International Corporation.
A copy of the lawsuit and more information about The Clearman Law Firm is available at www.clearmanlaw.com