Hedge Fund Names: What a Hedge Fund Manager Should Do Before It Starts Using a Name

Although the pace of new hedge fund formation these days is nowhere near that of several years ago, new funds are still being formed at a fairly healthy clip.  Whether as a result of investment banks spinning off their proprietary trading operations due to the Dodd-Frank regime or as a result of successful traders leaving funds that are stuck below their high-water marks, new funds are being formed and new managers will need to come up with names for their management companies and funds.  In the wake of last decade’s exponential growth in the industry, they will find that most of the obvious sources of names (e.g., trees, birds, constellations and mythological entities) are already being used.  Other names, although no longer in use, have been so tarnished by their past use in the investment management field (whether due to scandal or simply poor performance) that they are no longer viable candidates for a new manager.  This makes selecting a name for a new management company or fund increasingly difficult and presents a greater risk now than ever before.  It also makes obtaining trademark protection for a name increasingly important.  Complicating the name selection issue is the fact that trademark rights exist on a country-by-country basis, which means that a given name might be available for use and registration in one country but not in another.  With the globalization of financial markets and the rise of multi-jurisdictional hedge fund managers, new managers must consider name rights outside the United States and may have to devise intricate use and registration strategies internationally to ensure their ability to use their name and prevent others from adopting similar names across many countries.  In a guest article, David Nissenbaum and Scott Kareff, Partner and Special Counsel, respectively, at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, discuss various topics related to hedge fund name selection, including: the importance of trademark registration for hedge funds; specific disputes that can arise as a result of name selection; ten lessons that can be learned from prior name disputes; and the value of name searches, including a discussion of the name search process and its inherent limitations.

To read the full article

Continue reading your article with a HFLR subscription.