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Patent investment could pay off for Cantor

Cantor Fitzgerald’s prescience in buying up financial e-commerce patents could boost its earnings as it rebuilds after its tragic September 11 staff losses. Its claims, though, have not gone unchallenged and sympathy for the firm might wane as litigation proliferates.

Howard Lutnick:
'This feels like a
new beginning'

HOWARD LUTNICK, CEO and chairman of eSpeed and Cantor Fitzgerald, has always been a driven man. Now he is working for more than just shareholder value. He has to look after the families of the 657 employees who died in the World Trade Centre attacks. The company is to pay 25% of its profits to these families for the next five years. That money may come from an unexpected source.

Even before the terrorist attacks, the market knew that eSpeed owned a formidable piece of intellectual property in the Wagner patent covering automatic futures trade matching. But now, more than six months on, patents are emerging as a central part of eSpeed's business as it tries to reclaim its place in the markets. A firm that attracted widespread sympathy last year is winning few friends in the process.

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