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Technology, Industry

September 6, 2018

Uber for Real Estate…Disruptor, or Distractor? And what does MOVE, Inc have to Do with This?

“Uber Real Estate is Now Disrupting Real Estate With Their Uber Model

Uber Real Estate, headquartered near Facebook, announced the hard launch of Uber Real Estate services.”


In the world of social media and virtual worlds, does close geographic proximity to Facebook really bring some sort of credibility or power? But I digress.

The site is full of errors and misspellings. It provides a hostile and negative opinion of the real estate industry. It suggests that commissions are a rip off, and agents are inexperienced and maybe even dishonest. Uber Real Estate comes to the rescue with promises to cut commissions while saving you from the incompetence of other brokers and agents.

Back to the question, I am going with distractor. Uber getting into real estate would be big news, but this is not Uber the ride sharing company...and, even Uber, with all of its resources, would have a hard time entering the real estate space. While some of Uber’s software may find practical application in the sale of real property, that also, is a conversation for another time.

This is not Uber…but what does Move have to do with it?

So the first point is that Uber Real Estate is not Uber the ride sharing company.

Take a look at the registration of the Domain UberRealEstate.com and compare it to the registration of the domain Uber.com.

I conducted a simple “whois search” and the results are as follows:

Domain - UberRealEstate.com

Registrant Contact

Organization: Private

Mailing Address: , Washington US

Admin Contact:

Organization: Private

Tech Contact

Organization: Private

Domain – Uber.com

Registrant Contact

Organization: Uber Technologies, Inc.

Mailing Address: , CA US

Admin Contact

Organization: Uber Technologies, Inc.

Mailing Address: , CA US

Tech Contact

Organization: Uber Technologies, Inc.

Mailing Address: , CA US

Uber wants you to know who owns the domain Uber.com – it is Uber Technologies, Inc. The real estate Uber does not want you to know who owns the domain uberrealestate.com. 

Use of the Term “Uber” 

The Uber Real Estate site states:

“Trade Mark First Use 2008. Any and all connotations of the word, “Uber,” TM – and any reference to Real Estate what-so-ever are the property and Trademark(s) of Uber Real Estate.

Trademark Infringement is now pursued to the full extent of Federal Law at minimum damages of $10,00,0000 and applicable attorneys fees, per occurrence.

It is about Uber Everything. We take the Jack Ma approach to business and supply the consumer with what they want.”


So my first soft conclusion is that Uber the ride sharing company does not own Uber the real estate company. Uber the Real Estate company may have had some type of "prior use" or "prior art" to allow it to use the domain with a trademark term (uber) included.

A review of the federal trademark filings at the USPTO.gov site reveals that a James C. Whatley was awarded the trademark for the word UBER in 2008. Interestingly, Jim Whatley operates the Fort Walton Beach, Florida brokerage firm Uber Realty – https://www.uberrealty.com/about-me - “Most brokers will charge you the same fee no matter how your home sells, even if you find the buyer. You deserve better.”On November 17, 2017 Jim Whatley assigned the trademark for the word UBER to UberRE, Inc, owned by Brent Ritz.

Uber Real Estate is performing acts for which a real estate broker license is required in California:

From the site:

“List your property for 1-2%.

We are all about performance and going from A to B.

Who do you believe is going to represent the 15,000 San Francisco Bay Area buyers that work at Uber, or riders that use Uber? More importantly, who is not going to be representing those buyers? Who is going to control and support the market?”

The company seems to want to create at least the impression of a connection with Uber, however, buying and selling real estate is not the same as calling a cab.

Move, Inc…Uber Real Estate…and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

From the DCMA Page on the Uber RE site: 

Pursuant to Title 17, United States Code, Section 512, notifications of claimed copyright infringement should be sent to this website operator’s Designated Agent set forth below. All inquiries must be filed in accordance with Title 17, United States Code, Section 512.

IP Administrator: c/o Move, Inc.

30700 Russell Ranch Road
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Telephone: (805) 557-2300
https://www.uberrealestate.com/dcmanotice 

I called the number at Move and it went to a "mail box." IP Administrator

Is this site a property of MOVE?

Is MOVE hosting this site?

Broker License Requirements

The website solicits buyers, sellers, and agents. It is clearly in the real estate brokerage business and is licensed in California.

License Type: CORPORATION

Name: Uberre, Inc.

UberRealEstate.com does not readily identify itself as a California Broker, and there is no BRE license number visible on the site.
If you go to the web site of the company and click on Agent, you discover:

"Uber Agent Sign Up

LEARN ABOUT BEING AN EQUITY HOLDER. The company also states on its agent page: We Are Disrupting The Traditional Real Estate Model. Be A Part Of This Change. Sign Up Now!”

The company site goes on to say on its "About Page:" 

“Constructive Notice:

We own the word, Uber, itself, for Real Estate. Registration Number 5052252.

We will make Uber the premium service it should be, and provide the ultimate value and market liquidity.

The Real Estate and Transportation Arena will be disrupted by experienced professionals providing superior service with unnecessary overhead, inefficiencies and bureaucracy removed.

We are here to serve you.”


This company has a long way to go before it presents a threat to the industry, and before I would trust it with the biggest investment of my life, based on the lack of understanding of the real estate industry visible on their site and in their press release.
 

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