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CoStar Moves To Dismiss Xceligent's Antitrust Countersuit

CoStar Group is asking a Missouri judge to dismiss the countersuit Xceligent filed against the data giant in late June alleging the company had engaged in years of anti-competitive behavior. 

The D.C.-based commercial real estate data company filed a 27-page motion to dismiss with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri Thursday, arguing Xceligent did not present adequate claims to merit a court judgment.

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"Xceligent’s antitrust claims should be dismissed because Xceligent fails to plead facts sufficient to allege that CoStar blocks brokers from doing business with, or providing updates to, Xceligent," CoStar's motion reads.

In response, Xceligent CEO Doug Curry said the motion does not change his company's plans to go through with the antitrust suit. 

"Xceligent stands by its claims that CoStar uses anticompetitive behavior to maintain its monopoly position in violation of the FTC Consent Decree and antitrust law," Curry said in a statement provided to Bisnow. "We're looking forward to our day in court to finally put an end to CoStar's actions and protect the industry's right to share information."

The motion to dismiss comes after Xceligent on Monday filed a motion for judgment on CoStar's initial December lawsuit. That suit alleged Xceligent stole and resold CoStar's proprietary content "on an industrial scale." CoStar CEO Andrew Florance has pledged to spend up to $20M this year on the suit. 

Xceligent responded to the intellectual property suit on June 28 by filing a 139-page counterclaim that accused CoStar of violating federal antitrust law and Federal Trade Commission conditions placed on the company in 2012 by preventing its users from sharing data with competitors. 

The countersuit did not change CoStar's expected budget for the legal battle, and its general counsel called Xceligent's allegations a "smoke screen" on an earnings call last month.  

UPDATE: AUG. 19 2 P.M. EST: CoStar has responded with the following statement: 

“Xceligent’s counterclaims, filed more than seven months after CoStar initiated its lawsuit, should be seen for what they are: a smokescreen to distract from Xceligent’s own wrongdoing and a cudgel to expand the scope and cost of resolving this case promptly on its merits. ”  

Unable to deny liability, Xceligent tries to change the subject by advancing counterclaims. In 326 paragraphs Xceligent fails to identify a single broker who is not doing business with Xceligent as a result of something CoStar did. Xceligent’s defamation, injurious falsehood, and false advertising claims are equally baseless. In each case, Xceligent fails to identify any false statement, any actual malice on the part of CoStar, or any pecuniary loss. In fact, the publications that purportedly contain defamatory statements describe, in great detail, the foundation upon which CoStar based its statements. 

Xceligent stole content from CoStar and then sold competing products to the marketplace at lower prices. Like every other participant in the American economy, CoStar is entitled to compete vigorously and exclude others, including (if not especially) its competitors from its property. CoStar remains confident in the merits of its case and looks forward to holding Xceligent accountable for its misconduct."