A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision this week that the Vanguard Group cannot use the Standard & Poor’s trademark in conjunction with its VIPER share classes.

The Vanguard Group has been planning to offer new exchange traded fund share classes that would be tied directly into the S&P’s 500. The share classes would be known as Vanguard Index Participation Equity Receipts, or VIPERs. But McGraw Hill, parent company of S&P’s, has battled those plans, claiming that Vanguard’s use of the S&P’s trademark violates a licensing contract the companies struck in 1988.

McGraw Hill, which announced the ruling today, said in a statement that the decision is a victory for the company in controlling its trademark through licensing agreements. The court ruled that VIPERS shares represent "a fundamentally different type of investment product than conventional mutual fund shares," the statement said.

Vanguard officials could not be reached for comment.

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