Signature Financial Group, of Boston, has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to invalidate its patent on the hub-and-spoke mutual fund structure.

The suit was brought by State Street Bank and Trust Co. in U.S. District Court in Boston earlier this month.

In a petition filed Tuesday, Signature, a privately held mutual fund administrator, said that State Street has no grounds to sue because it has not been accused of violating the patent.

Signature said in a prepared statement that lt has never threatened to sue any company for infringing its patent.

"Signature prefers focusing on its hub-and-spoke product development activities as opposed to litigating, which is time consuming, expensive, and not likely to become a profit center any time soon," the company said.

Signature's patent is for software that accounts for hub-andspoke funds, in which several funds share the same investments but have different fees and names.

The company serves as administrator of mutual funds with $18 billion of assets. Its leading bank clients include J.P. Morgan & Co., Citicorp, and Bankers Trust w York Corp.

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