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Zillow Settles Trade Secret Suit for $130 Million

Zillow is set to pay $130 million in one of the most contentious online real estate cases in history. Zillow has agreed to settle with Move, which operates for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

As the settlement agreement explains:

It is understood and agreed that this is a compromise settlement of disputed claims and counterclaims and potential disputed claims and counterclaims... This settlement agreement is solely the result of a good faith compromise and settlement between the parties. Nothing contained herein is or is to be construed as an admission by any of the parties of liability, wrongdoing, or responsibility, and the parties deny any such liability or wrongdoing and continue to disclaim such responsibility.

A Look at the Allegations & Details of the Case 

trade secrets notebook

The following details were gathered from news reports and the Securities and Exchange Commission filing:¹

  • Move had alleged that Errol Samuelson, former Move chief strategy officer, stole proprietary information and trade secrets, before going to work for Zillow in 2013.
  • Move claimed Zillow owned it approximately $2 billion in damages.
  • Move originally sued Zillow after CSO Samuelson resigned from Move on March 5, 2014 and joined Zillow as the second highest paid executive on the very same date.
  • The lawsuit alleged breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and accused Samuelson misappropriated stolen trade secrets.
  • Move further alleged that Zillow attempted to cover up the theft.
  • The NAR will receive 10 percent of the settlement amount after Move’s litigation costs and fees. Move will receive the remainder of the settlement.
  • The lawsuit later added another former Move member, Curt Beardsley, who is now Zillow’s vice president of industry development.
  • All parties agree to dismiss all claims and counter claims, per a separate SEC filing by Zillow. In the filing, Zillow disavows any wrongdoing or admission of liability in the settlement.

“We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution of this litigation,” Move said in a statement. “We look forward to putting the matter to rest and returning our full focus to simplifying the real estate process for consumers and the real estate professionals who serve them.”

Contact a Denver Real Estate Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC

If you have a real estate deal that needs legal representation or you have a business dealing that needs litigation, you can count on Denver Real Estate Attorney Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing individuals and businesses in the Denver Metro Area and throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service for their real estate legal issues, litigation, and property taxes.

Our dedication to our clients, coupled with our extensive experience handling complex real estate matters, means that our clients can always trust that we will aggressively protect their rights and help them achieve the best possible outcomes to their sensitive legal matters.

We encourage you to learn more about your rights and options, as well as our various services, by calling us at (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page.

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1“Zillow to pay $130M to settle lawsuit with Move over alleged trade secret theft” published in Housingwire, June 2016.

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