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Morningstar goes to trial in intellectual property lawsuit

Jun 24, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

By Joyce Hanson

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A trial is scheduled to start July 7 in Chicago to determine if investment research firm Morningstar Inc. illegally replicated software owned by Business Logic Corp.

Business Logic, a 401(k) managed accounts software company, is suing Morningstar for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. It is requesting compensatory damages of $64.3 million.

Business Logic, a firm with 25 employees and now part of NextCapital Group Inc., claims that Morningstar and Ibbotson Associates Inc., a Morningstar company, misappropriated Business Logic's trade secrets over the course of two and a half years, starting in 2007. The lawsuit was filed in 2009.

“Trade secret protections are very valuable for startup companies and other innovators, and these companies ought to expect that their contracts will be honored,” said NextCapital attorney and chief operating officer Bill Patterson.

Morningstar spokeswoman Alexa Auerbach declined to comment on the particulars of the case prior to the trial. “We prefer that the case be heard in court,” she said.

The Business Logic suit involves Morningstar's managed accounts platform for retirement plan participants.

(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that HelloWallet Holdings Inc. resided on the Morningstar managed accounts platform.)

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