Two titans of fundamentally weighted indexes are being compared to the funds they created, in the hopes of stirring up a little excitement.

A story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal reports that Robert Arnott, chairman of Research Affiliates LLC and head of Research Affiliates Fundamental Indexes (RAFI), is accusing his rivals of stealing his idea of fundamental weighting, or weighting companies based on cash flow, sales, book value and dividends.

WisdomTree Investments Inc.’s Jeremy Siegel, a finance professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that such an idea is not new and can’t be patented because of its basic intellectual notion.

By looking at only one factor, such as dividends, Arnott said many companies that don’t pay dividends are left out. Siegel responds that non-dividend paying companies “are among the poorest performers in the marketplace” over the long run.

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