Futures industry petitions courts to unseal TT patent files

Futures industry petitions courts to unseal TT patent files

Trade associations for the futures and hedge fund industries have signalled their concerns about the threat from patent litigation by asking a US court to intervene in a dispute between Trading Technologies and eSpeed.

Both the Futures Industry Association and Managed Funds Association have asked the court to open the files on a lawsuit filed by independent software vendor Trading Technologies against the fixed income network eSpeed.

Trading Technologies is claiming patent protection for its software interface which enables traders to assess the depth of market across multiple exchange venues. The vendor, which claims to process in excess of 50% futures market share through its X-Trader platform, has already settled suits with two brokerages. TT has since upped the pressure on the industry by asking for a 2.5 cents per side fee on all trades conducted over the Big Four futures and options exchanges.

The FIA and MFA want to view documents filed in the eSpeed litigitation so that they can better understand and guage the strengths and weaknesses of TT's alleged patent claims. They claim that Protective Order Limits have restricted public access to all major documentation on the case, without just cause.

In a supporting memorandum, the trade associations say: "In short, TT is attempting to utilise the Federal Courts to conduct an essentially private resolution."

The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicao Mercantile Exchange also petitioned the courts to unseal the documents in a separate motion in late December.

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