Richmond, VA-based Wealthcare had accused PIETech, in nearby Powhatan, Va, and the bank of using two of its patented planning processes in MoneyGuidePro. The settlement puts to rest concerns that a successful ruling on behalf of Wealthcare might have touched off a frenzy of activity throughout the industry to file patent protections, according to Joel Bruckenstein, a cofounder of Technology Tools Today (and a contributing editor to FP).
After reading both patents at issue in the dispute, Bruckenstein said he concluded that Wealthcare was trying to patent the entire financial planning process.
“That’s why I think all this intellectual property is so dangerous because someone in the patent office who has no idea what we do issues a patent,” Bruckenstein says.
Details of the settlement are confidential.
“We are just going forward business as usual and we are happy with the outcome,” said PIETech founder Bob Curtis, adding that he believes the settlement will provide “peace of mind” to MoneyGuide customers.
Over the weekend, Curtis said, PIETech completed upgrades for all of its customers to the newest version of its planning software, MoneyGuidePro: G3.
Without knowing the terms, Bruckenstein said that he guesses that PIETech would not have agreed to a settlement if they harbored fears of the same accusations being raised again.
“Now that MoneyGuide has come out with a new version,” he said, “I guess the question is even if the suit had validity over the previous version, would it have validity over the new version?
“Personally I think these kinds of suits are counter to the interests of most financial advisors,” Bruckenstein added, “and I hope that’s the last we see of it.”