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Consulnet v. Dynamic Investment Group

The Case: Consulnet, in conjunction with Craig Proctor, consistently one of the leading real estate salesmen in North America, developed a web based real estate sales system which they licensed to real estate agents throughout the US and Canada. When Consulnet started losing clients to Dynamic Investment Group, they discovered that DIG had created lookalike websites with very similar functionality. Consulnet sued for breach of contract, copyright infringement and various other tortuous acts.

The Challenge: Counsel for Consulnet retained Insight Design to illustrate conclusively that the accused websites were copied, not merely similar, and the problem widespread. The Solution: Insight Design created a series of exhibits in which a particular feature was isolated on a Consulnet webpage and then the identical feature found on numerous DIG webpages. Some 80 examples of copying were illustrated.

Another exhibit was created to show analysis of the code of a DIG website. Two long passages of code, one the proprietary code of Consulnet the other from a DIG website were superimposed. This showed clearly that they were the same, not just in functionality, but in indentation, line length, punctuation, et cetera.

Additionally, Insight Design produced a very simple animated tutorial to explain how entering a URL in a web browser results in an image on the screen. A variation of this tutorial showed how the code copied into the DIG website actually placed a call to Consulnet’s server for a subroutine, a particularly damning indication of copying.

The Outcome: The jury found that Consulnet’s copyrights had been infringed and its’ contract breached.

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