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The Clearman Law Firm Announces Patent Infringement, Fraud Lawsuit Against Nation’s Largest Homebuilders and Home Products Manufacturers

2008-08-21 09:01:00

 Pulte, Lennar, David Weekley Homes, Honeywell, Whirlpool, others named as


    MARSHALL, Texas, Aug. 21 /EMWNews/ -- Attorneys from Houston's The

Clearman Law Firm are announcing a federal lawsuit filed late yesterday on

behalf of the owner of against a group of

nationally recognized 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 a competing Web-based business.

    According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the

Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, the owners of 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 -- 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.

    Attorney Scott Clearman, lead counsel for OLA and founder of The

Clearman Law Firm, says his client took every precaution to protect its

valuable idea only to see it replicated in violation of the company's

patents and agreements.

    "The defendants obviously saw the benefit in OLA's idea, but they

apparently didn't think they needed the company's permission to use its

patents or to honor their confidentiality agreements," Mr. Clearman says.

"It's hard for me to believe that these huge companies didn't know what

they were doing when they basically copied our client's process verbatim

and collaborated to market it themselves."

    In addition to Mr. Clearman, OLA also is represented by Brian D. Walsh

of The Clearman Law Firm and Matthew J.M. Prebeg, Edward W. Goldstein and

Holly H. Barnes of Houston's Goldstein, Faucett & Prebeg.

    Notable homebuilders named as defendants in the lawsuit include

Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (NYSE: BZH), Newport Beach,

Calif.-based Capital Pacific Holdings, Inc., Dallas-based Centex Real

Estate Corp., Houston-based Weekley Homes, L.P. d/b/a David Weekley Homes,

Los Angeles-based KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Miami-based Lennar Corporation

(NYSE: LEN), Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Pulte Homes, Inc. (NYSE: PHM),

Irvine, Calif.-based Standard Pacific Corp. (NYSE: SPF) and Horsham,

Penn.-based Toll Brothers, Inc. (NYSE: TOL).

    Also named as defendants are home products manufacturers Atlanta-based

Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Lakeville, Minn.-based Hearth & Home

Technologies, Inc., Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell International Inc.

(NYSE: HON), Kohler, Wisc.-based Kohler Co., Taylor, Mich.-based Masco

Corporation (NYSE: MAS), Lewisville, Texas-based Overhead Door Corporation,

Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), Greenville, S.C.-based

Progress Lighting Inc., Palatine, Ill.-based Square D Company, Maumee,

Ohio-based Therma-Tru Corp., Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser Company

(NYSE: WY), Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR)

and York, Penn.-based York International Corporation.

    A copy of the lawsuit and more information about The Clearman Law Firm

is available at

    For more information or to schedule an interview with Mr. Clearman,

please contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or [email protected].

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