Title Data Settles Dispute With The Texas Attorney General
|May 22, 2008|
Houston --- Title Data, Inc. of Houston, Texas announced the amicable resolution of an inquiry into its business model by the office of the Texas Attorney General. In December of 2005 the Texas Attorney General began an examination of Title Data to determine whether its method of operation of automated land title evidence plants constituted anticompetitive conduct.
The major issue in the investigation was Title Data’s rule that only those companies who pay for the operation and maintenance of its title plants should be allowed to share the products produced from the plants, such as title insurance commitments. Title Data has long contended that such products are protected by federal copyright and trade secret laws and that protecting them from unauthorized use by others does not constitute anticompetitive conduct.
In the settlement reached, Title Data was not found to have violated any laws and the Attorney General and Title Data expressed their desire to resolve the matter without resort to the time, expense and uncertainty of litigation. Under the terms of the settlement, Title Data retained its right to restrict the transfer of its proprietary title information, while agreeing to clarify its rules governing such restrictions, add two independent directors to its Board of Directors, and to reimburse the Attorney General for a portion of the cost of the investigation.
Title Data was happy to add independent directors to its Board to help bring additional business perspectives to the company. In fact, It had contemplated such an action well before the Attorney General’s investigation. However, nothing in the settlement agreement changed Title Data’s basic business model which restricts distribution of its trade secret title plant information to those subscribers and customers who paid for the production of that information.
Commenting on the press release Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released today, Title Data’s President and CEO James Sibley stated “A reader of the Agreed Final Judgement would conclude that the “sweeping changes” General Abbott alludes to are in fact minor. I note that the Attorney General’s press release was apparently drafted October 11, 2007, long before a settlement was reached; perhaps this accounts for the inconsistencies between the Attorney General’s press release today and the terms of the Agreed Final Judgement.”
Source: Title Data