NewRiver, a US provider of a central repository of mutual fund documents and data for financial services firms, has filed a lawsuit against Morningstar, alleging that the investment research firm has used the internet to gain illegal access to its Prospectus Express web-based data warehouse. The firm has also accused Morningstar of unfair competition related to the Prospectus Express product, which provides investors with up to date mutual fund prospectuses.
The lawsuit has been filed with Massachusetts state court and NewRiver has stated that it will “vigorously protect its proprietary interests in its Prospectus Express product through the prosecution of the lawsuit”. The firm is seeking to prevent Morningstar from accessing its online warehouse of updated prospectuses and asking for unspecified damages.
The breach is alleged to have happened last year, during a period when talks were ongoing regarding the possible takeover of NewRiver by Morningstar.
Morningstar has acknowledged that it accessed NewRiver’s data for “benchmarking” purposes to ascertain whether its own information was up to date but denies using the data for illegal purposes.