United States of America Department of Justice, Antitrust Division v. National Assocation of Realtors (NAR), Defendant, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division last Fall, pursuant to Sherman Antirust Act, aims to: enjoin the defendant — a national association of real estate brokers — from maintaining or enforcing a policy that restrains competition from brokers who use the Internet to more efficiently and cost effectively serve home sellers and buyers, and from adopting other related anticompetitive rules. The U.S. Government antitrust action is ongoing and asserts: Brokers with innovative, Internet-based business models present a competitive challenge to brokers who provide listings to their customers only by traditional methods. Many brick-and-mortar brokers fear the ability of VOW (Virtual Office Websites) operators to use Internet technology to attract more customers and provide better service at a lower cost. The “Nature of the Offense” alleged by the US Government: In response to concerns raised by certain NAR members about this new form of competition, NAR’s Board of Directors voted on May 17, 2003, to adopt the VOW Policy, a Policy governing use of MLS data in connection with Internet brokerage services offered by MLS Participants…… Read full this story
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