Why Managers Should Trademark Their Fund Names

Fund names become valuable commercial assets when they are successfully registered as trademarks. It is a common misconception that, once a fund vehicle is formed, the owner can exclusively use the fund name with respect to financial services and prevent third parties from using the same name. The mere formation of a fund vehicle in a particular legal name, however, does not provide the fund manager with trademark protection and should not be taken as an indication that the fund name is available for use and registration as a trademark. For example, a third party may have already used and/or registered a similar or identical fund name as a trademark, which could pose threats to a manager’s use of its chosen fund name and its ability to protect that name. A fund name will serve to identify and distinguish a manager’s fund and attract investors. Without trademark protection comes risk – if a manager does not secure trademark protection, its rights against third parties will be limited. This guest article by Ogier partner Sophie Peat explains the trademarking process in general and its nuances in the context of private fund names, including environmental, social and governance related funds. Note that each jurisdiction has its own regulations and procedures for trademarks. See “Hedge Fund Names: What a Hedge Fund Manager Should Do Before It Starts Using a Name” (Mar. 16, 2012).

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