Major online trading company Interactive Broker has entered a legal scuffle with one of its former customers over access to source code and related materials.
What happened to the broker’s source code?
Robert Scott Batchelar, a former client of Interactive Brokers, disagrees with the company over the scope of a protective order. The order governs access to the source code and related materials of the brokerage firm. A lawsuit filed by Batchelar at the Connecticut District Court will now determine the access of the plaintiff to the source code of the defendants.
The lawsuit was brought in December 2015 and targeted IBG Inc. and the company’s Executive Vice President, and Chief Information Officer Thomas Frank have also been named. The suit alleges that the members of the purported class of IB LLC customers and Batchelar were harmed because of flaws in the company’s systems. The case is purported class action, and the plaintiffs refer specifically to the computerized system used by the broker to liquidate positions for customers that have margin deficiencies.
What does the plaintiff demand?
Batchelar says that he suffered losses because of the flaws in the company’s algorithm system and seeks civil liability in negligence against the defendants. He alleges, “negligence in the design, coding, testing and maintenance” of the system.
The defendants- Interactive Brokers Group Inc., Interactive Brokers LLC, and Thomas A. Frank seek a supplemental protective order that governs Batchelar’s access to the source code and related materials of the company. The supplemental order relates to the durability of the order’s protections against future legal actions by non-parties. The new order will limit Batchelar’s use of the source code in the instant litigation if it is not deemed a class action. The protection will continue even after the instant case is dealt with.
According to the defendants, the source code is highly proprietary, and disclosure of the source code would lead to the exposure of their trade secrets. Batchelar, on the other hand, suggests that he wants access to the source code so outside experts and his counsel may have independent access to these materials for use in this litigation.
He specifically seeks discovery to the “Auto- Liquidation Software source code” of the defendant. He also seeks related explanations of the workings of the code and explanations of related computer database inputs and outputs. The parties have previously tried good-faith efforts multiple times to avoid going to Court, but they haven’t resulted in a mutually satisfactory agreement.