Merri Jo Cowen

REDPLAN directors Victor Lund of WAV Group and Merri Jo Cowen, CEO of My Florida Regional MLS had a call to discuss REDPLAN’s new Prior Art and Forms Library. Lund: When did MFRMLS join REDPLAN? Cowen: MFRMLS joined REDPLAN a few years ago. I joined the Board of Directors shortly after. Lund: Why did MFRMLS join REDPLAN? Cowen: Our Board of Directors was motivated by the need that they see for this kind of non-profit entity. Among MLSs today, there is little education that delivers best copyright practices or collaboration for MLSs to fight patent trolls.  Our hope is that the industry can work together to temper these issues before they escalate to court battles. Lund: What was the most surprising benefit of REDPLAN that you did not expect? Cowen: It’s a great resource for our legal counsel. We have learned about cases that are looming. We went through our copyright review and got good guidance on our related documents . Lund: What is the Prior Art and Forms Library and why should people care? Cowen: The Prior Art and Forms Library was recently launched in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Council of MLS. REDPLAN members like MFRMLS brought our Forms and other materials for the library and handed them over. We believe that the library adds value to membership in REDPLAN. With a library of information cataloged in one place, MLSs and Associations can get out in front of the expensive and time consuming effort of gathering evidence well before due diligence for a case. I suspect that future cases will not even go to trial once the Library is fully installed. MFRMLS has a policy of copyrighting our subscriber’s compilation of listings on a quarterly basis.  Now, our engagement with REDPLAN has become a vehicle to model how to protect other assets on behalf of our subscribers. Our listing input form is a great example. Lund: How can other MLSs and Associations contribute to the REDPLAN Library? Cowen: Send them everything. Once the information registered with REDPLAN, the library and REDPLAN can support you at protecting them as needed. About REDPLAN REDPLAN stands for Real Estate Data Protection Legal Association Nonprofit. REDPLAN is an organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of the intellectual property rights of MLSs, Associations, real estate brokerages, real estate technology firms and any organization that compiles real property information. The organization […]