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California Assoc. of Realtors sues PDFfiller.com for $136M for ‘unlawful copyright violations’

Claims website engaged in unauthorized use and sale of C.A.R forms

The California Association of Realtors claims that the website PDFfiller.com “willfully and unlawfully” copied, used, and sold its copyrighted materials to “hundreds of thousands of users” and wants the website to pay up – to the tune of $136 million.

C.A.R filed a suit against PDFfiller.com, stating that the website engaged in the unauthorized use and publication and sale of C.A.R.'s suite of copyrighted real estate forms. 

According to materials provided by C.A.R., PDFfiller.com advertises its platform as one that “may be used to create and obtain blank and fillable C.A.R. forms,” but does so without authorization or permission from C.A.R. 

Additionally, members of the 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, C.A.R. said. 

C.A.R.’s lawsuit accuses PDFfiller.com of the misappropriation and copying of a number of the association's “most popular and valuable forms,” including selling access to and advertising the ability to create reusable and fillable forms. 

Per C.A.R., PDFfiller.com 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.

“C.A.R. forms are copyrighted and are the gold standard in the industry,” said C.A.R. President Pat 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,” Zicarelli added. “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 complaint also alleges that PDFfiller.com engaged in the “willful infringement” of C.A.R.'s copyrighted forms and its registered trademarks.

The suit also alleges that PDFfiller.com purchased web search terms that lead the public to its site when they search for C.A.R. documents, rather than C.A.R.’s website, 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. said in a statement.

C.A.R.’s lawsuit seeks more than $136 million in monetary compensation, including statutory penalties, and attorneys' fees, as well as a permanent injunction on PDFfiller.com to prohibit “future infringing activity.”

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