Select Sector SPDR Trust Launches Trademark Suit Against PowerShares

The Select Sector SPDR Trust has sued a competitor for “creating investor confusion” by using ETF ticker symbols it says are “astoundingly similar” to those of the Select Sector SPDRs.  ,


The Select Sector SPDR Trust, which offers a family of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that divide the S&P 500 into nine individual sector funds, has filed suit against PowerShares Exchange-Traded Fund Trust II, INVESCO PowerShares Capital Management, LLC, and INVESCO Distributors, Inc. under Section 43 of the Federal Trademark Act, and common law of the State of Texas. 

According to a press release, at the core of Select Sector SPDRs’ complaint is PowerShares’ use of ticker symbols for the nine sector ETFs it launched in April, which are based on the S&P 600. These new symbols differ by “just one letter, an “S” appended to the end of the same symbols used since 1998 by Select Sector SPDRs for precisely the same sectors,” according to the announcement.

The Complaint notes that the Select Sector SPDR Trust has invested “substantial time, creative effort and millions of dollars developing an association in the mind of investors between the particular symbols under which the Trust’s ETFs are offered and the financial product the symbol actually represents.”

Dan Dolan, Director of Wealth Management Strategies for the Select Sector SPDR Trust, noted that the symbols of 101 out of 102 ETFs previously launched by PowerShares start with “P.” The sector funds in question are the only products in PowerShares ETF family that begin with an “X,” followed by the same two letters as Select Sector SPDRs, with only an “S” appended at the end.