Och-Ziff Capital Management Group won a lawsuit against a London investment adviser and its founder to block the use of the Och name.
OCH Capital and Thomas Ochocki infringed on the Och-Ziff trademark, Judge Richard Arnold in London ruled Wednesday. Och-Ziff’s European unit sued the London firm last year and asked the court to stop the firm from using the first portion of its name.
Och-Ziff has more than $26 billion in assets under management for about 600 investors.
OCH Capital began operating in September 2009, according to the judgment. Och-Ziff learned of the firm when an interior designer who works for the hedge fund saw the OCH Capital sign on a building in the Mayfair neighborhood of London and assumed it was Och-Ziff. Two other men, an art consultant and an investment banker, also confused the two, according to testimony.
“OCH is strongly distinctive for financial services,” Mr. Arnold said in the judgment. “There is a manifest likelihood of confusion on the part of both types of consumer.”
Damages in the case will be set at a later hearing.
Mr. Ochocki had no immediate comment on the judgment. Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for New York-based Och-Ziff, declined to comment.
A lawyer for OCH Capital, Alistair Wilson, said during a three-day trial two weeks ago that the London-based firm pronounces its name as initials, and offered to Och-Ziff to clarify that late last year by changing its name to O.C.H. Capital. The name was never changed, Mr. Arnold said in the judgment.
Mr. Ochocki named the firm after the first three letters of his last name because colleagues and clients had trouble pronouncing it, according to the judgment. Before his firm, Mr. Ochocki had worked as a stockbroker since 2001.
Och-Ziff’s lawyers sent OCH Capital a letter in October 2009, alleging trademark infringement and passing off, and asked the investment adviser to change its name. The hedge fund sought trademark protection for OCH the same month and sued OCH Capital in November 2009 after not receiving a reply. The trademark was registered in June.