High-priced punishment


A Houston federal Judge has handed down a staggering punishment to a Houston Real Estate Developer.

The lesson for Houston’s real estate community. Don’t rip off ideas.

Houston Real Estate Developer Vinod Ramani and his company Urban Living were found liable for ripping off a competitor’s copyrighted material thousands of times.

Ramani and his company, Urban Living, were given a stunning court judgment of $28,790,000 today by Judge David Hittner.

Ramani and his company have to pay all of that huge punishment to Preston Wood and Associates, the Houston residential design firm he stole from. And they have to pay 2.67 percent interest too.

The jury in the case found that Ramani had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a complex law that keeps people from taking your ideas and making money with them.

Ramani and Urban Living broke this law more than 11,500 times, and the real estate community has been waiting to see how much money he would have to hand over.

The punishment for each violation ranged from $2,500 to $25,000.

Maybe Ramani got off easy.

Ramani could have been smacked with damages as high as $280 million. It will still be devastating for Ramani’s future.

Ramani tried to claim that he should only be fined in the thousands. The court didn’t agree to that slap on the wrist and held him fully accountable.

Urban Living had claimed they owned the rights to many architectural works used in projects around Houston. The court decided otherwise. The rights belonged to Preston Wood and Associates.

This court judgment is sure to rock the Houston real estate community. No word yet if Ramani plans to appeal.