Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Client Business Logic Obtains $61 Million Settlement
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP client Business Logic Holding Corporation obtained a $61,000,000.00 settlement this month in a complex trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract case against Ibbotson Associates and Morningstar, Inc. The publicly reported settlement ranks as both one of the largest reported Illinois settlements in recent years and is among the ten largest reported settlements involving trade secret misappropriation, according to Orrick.
Business Logic, a pioneer in the 401(k) retirement managed accounts software industry, sued Morningstar (MORN) and Morningstar's wholly owned subsidiary, Ibbotson, for violating the terms of their reseller agreement and misappropriating Business Logic's confidential information and trade secrets to design and develop its own 401(k) retirement account software in 2009. The lawsuit arose out of a 2003 contract wherein Ibbotson agreed to re-sell Business Logic's 401(k) financial retirement portfolio management software. In 2006, Morningstar acquired Ibbotson.
Business Logic had alleged that Morningstar software designers and developers obtained and accessed confidential and proprietary Business Logic software and documentation to create software that would ultimately be used to compete with Business Logic after 2009. In addition to the settlement figure, the parties jointly stated and acknowledged as part of the settlement agreement that the 401(k) managed accounts software currently marketed and sold by Morningstar was partially developed from Business Logic’s managed accounts software.
"After Business Logic spent years developing cutting-edge managed accounts software, Ibbotson and Morningstar misappropriated the software as alleged in Business Logic's lawsuit. Our client feels vindicated by this settlement," said Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorney P. Stephen Fardy.
His partner, Peter G. Skiko, added, “We believe the settlement amount reflects Morningstar’s decision to use knowledge gained during its partnership with Business Logic to compete in the managed accounts market, as we alleged.”
Business Logic, which had sought compensatory and treble damages as well as injunctive relief, filed suit in November 2009 and was set to pick a jury on July 7th before Cook County, Ill. Circuit Court Judge Patrick Sherlock.
Business Logic was represented by Fardy and Skiko, both Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP partners, along with R. Paul Yetter and Collin J. Cox of Yetter Coleman LLP in Houston. Ibbotson and Morningstar were represented by Sidley Austin LLP. Fardy and Skiko focus their practice in intellectual property and other commercial litigation.
 Pulling Back The Veil: Top 10 Disclosed Trade Secret Settlements, http://blogs.orrick.com/trade-secrets-watch/2013/10/16/pulling-back-the-veil-top-10-disclosed-trade-secret-settlements/. Last updated on October 16, 2013, last visited on July 17, 2014.