In a settlement reached last week, CCC Information Services Inc. of Chicago has agreed to buy used-car price values from the National Automobile Dealers Association and offer them to its customers. The deal makes CCC Information Services NADA's biggest customer.
The licensing agreement with NADA ends a two-year lawsuit. It enables both companies to avoid a trial in federal court that would have determined whether used-car price valuations can be copyrighted.
At stake were NADA's lucrative used-vehicle value guides. NADA had asked the court to restrain CCC from using its price guides in setting its own prices for sale to insurance companies. NADA publishes used-car values in the N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide and several other guides.
'Our new business relationship with CCC enhances the reputation of the used-car guide as the leading provider of national vehicle valuation services,' said Frank McCarthy, executive vice president of NADA Services Corp., the business arm of NADA.
Glen Tullman, president of CCC, said he is pleased the company reached an agreement with NADA. 'Our ability to offer our clients access to these valuations as a supplement to our dealer-based local market values further broadens the extensive range of products we currently provide the insurance industry,' he said.
CCC sells claim information on collision repairs to insurance companies.
NADA sued CCC in federal court in Alexandria, Va., and in Chicago, charging copyright violations and conspiracy to produce a fraudulent product. NADA charged the company with setting values beneath NADA's appraisals to make its service more attractive to insurers. At stake for NADA was about $20 million in annual sales of value guides.
NADA said CCC used its figures in setting valuations and asked the court to forbid CCC use of any of NADA's material. NADA claimed hundreds of thousands of auto insurance policyholders were being cheated by CCC valuations, which NADA said were lower than valuations provided by other guidebooks.
At issue was whether the figures published in guides are facts rather than appraisals. If the prices are facts, they may not fall under copyright laws.