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Rees Signs On As CMLS Outside General Counsel

Monday, December 6, 2010   (0 Comments)
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Based on my observations, I believe the MLS industry needs strong leadership, resources, and an independent voice in a dynamic and ever-changing business environment.  MLS face issues such as dealing with the new normal, Gen X and Gen Y consumers and REALTORS®, patent infringement cases, syndication of listings to Facebook® and other social networking sites, understand how to compete, and the list goes on.  Each of these, as well as other relevant issues, needs a venue for discussion.  Many MLS simply do not have the resources to learn what they need to learn and understand the issues that are critical to their future, and the future of their members and participants.  CMLS’ rapidly growing and focused, but broad based, membership provides a vehicle for MLS to identify policy issues and provide leadership in what has been a somewhat fractured industry.  CMLS is well-positioned to be a strong leader in the industry to help set agendas, and provide a forum for policy discussions.

I have been privileged to work with the industry on some of these though issues.  My 26 years of experience as a lawyer, with 13 of them working directly with MLS, have helped me see first-hand some of the challenges that face MLS.  Also, my work as outside general counsel for Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service, in addition to my relationships with many other MLS around the country, have given me a good perspective.  Recently I was given the opportunity of accepting an appointment as outside general counsel to CMLS.  I hope this will provide me with an opportunity to contribute to the industry, and in particular, help with the discussions impacting the industry now and in the future.  I would like to see CMLS strengthen its position as an industry leader.

A few years ago, I thought the industry needed to better understand the role of and utilize the benefits of intellectual property in real estate listings, not to mention avoiding potential risks.  I had the wonderful opportunity of working with Laurie Janik and Michael Thiel of National Association of REALTORS® in presenting several workshops around the country, and I also worked with NAR on developing a toolkit of documents and other information to help MLS work through the intellectual property maze.

In my role as general counsel for CMLS, not only do I hope to be a resource to address specific needs of CMLS, but given the increasingly legal and regulatory overlay of MLS issues, I want to contribute to policy and other discussions to set a positive course for the MLS industry.  I want to see CMLS continue to grow, and as MLS continue to seek information, resources, and well-reasoned policy positions, to have CMLS be available to satisfy those needs.

In my legal practice in Utah, I am a business lawyer working with clients, including as outside general counsel, to develop strategies and solutions for complex legal challenges and managing legal risk, particularly for matters involving technology, licensing, product distribution, branding and trademarks, copyrights, and doing business in a rapidly changing business and social online environment.  I am the chair of his law firm’s internet law and intellectual property practice group, and founded and chaired the Utah State Bar Association’s Cyberlaw Section.


John H. Rees





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