LOS ANGELES, July 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has sued PDFfiller.com for approximately $136 million in statutory damages arising from PDFfiller.com's unauthorized use and publication and sale of C.A.R.'s suite of copyrighted real estate forms. PDFfiller.com has advertised its platform as one that may be used to create and obtain blank and fillable C.A.R. forms without authorization or permission from C.A.R. Members of the general public may purchase subscriptions to PDFfiller.com in order to gain access to the C.A.R. forms and PDFfiller.com's various editing functions. The lawsuit charges misappropriation and copying of dozens of the association's most popular and valuable forms, including selling access to and advertising the ability to create reusable and fillable forms. According to PDFfiller.com's own site, PDFfiller has sold and granted access to the C.A.R. forms to hundreds of thousands of users, in violation of C.A.R.'s copyrights and trademarks.
The complaint alleges willful infringement of both C.A.R.'s copyrighted forms and its registered trademarks. The suit further alleges that PDFfiller.com has purchased search terms intended to lead the public to its site when they search for C.A.R. documents, and then sells access to its website. PDFfiller.com has charged users for access to counterfeit C.A.R. documents bearing C.A.R.'s registered tradename and logo which they have no right to do.
C.A.R.'s lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction to prohibit future infringing activity and also over $136 million in monetary compensation, including statutory penalties, and attorneys' fees.
"C.A.R. forms are copyrighted and are the gold standard in the industry," said C.A.R. President Pat "Ziggy" Zicarelli. "REALTORS® use C.A.R.'s original forms because they are heavily vetted and kept up to date with current laws and best practices. We unapologetically protect our work from unauthorized copying and tampering to protect the reliability, quality, and security of our work. This protects the integrity of the real estate transaction with the most up-to-date documentation."
C.A.R.'s copyrighted forms are created through extensive vetting by real estate lawyers and many members. This results in forms for its members that are the most accurate, creative and useful real estate forms for use in real estate transactions. It is important that C.A.R. members know that when they see a C.A.R. logo, the content has been through C.A.R.'s deliberative process.
Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 185,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.