Steven Cohen's Point72 is sued over use of California money manager's name

(Reuters) - Billionaire Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund firm was sued on Wednesday by a San Francisco money manager seeking to stop it from using its name on a new investing project.

Steven Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Point72 Asset Management, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Aperio Group LLC, which said it has more than $25 billion of assets under management, said Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management LP has caused confusion among customers, causing them to believe the two firms are connected.

The complaint refers to Point72’s planned use of the name for a “quantitative investing project.”

Aperio said sources of confusion have included a published article and television report discussing Aperio and Point72, and an abstract for a Stanford University seminar featuring a “managing director and chief data scientist for Aperio” who was also “responsible for Point72’s big data research team.”

Mark Herr, a spokesman for Stamford, Connecticut-based Point72, declined to comment.

In its complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, Aperio said Point72 has filed to register the trademark Point72 Aperio, and is causing “irreparable and substantial injury in the goodwill that Aperio has developed in its Aperio mark.”

The complaint seeks to recoup unspecified damages for alleged unfair competition, and stop Point72 from using Point72 Aperio and similar names.

Aperio sued Point72 nearly four months after the end of Cohen’s two-year ban on managing outside money, the result of a settlement with U.S. regulators following an insider trading probe involving his prior firm, SAC Capital Advisors LP.

Cohen was not criminally charged. In February, a female Point72 employee filed a separate lawsuit accusing the firm of discrimination. Point72 has denied her allegations.

The case is Aperio Group LLC v Point72 LP, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-02466.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler