12 November 2018

What's in a name?

A Colorado businessman launches against lawsuit against Bank of America over use of the name Erica.


A business owner in Colorado is attempting to stop Bank of America using the name ‘Erica’ for its virtual assistant service.


Erik Underwood, who runs My24 and also made a run for governor recently, filed the lawsuit in the US District Court in Colorado stating he registered the service mark 'E.R.I.C.A' with the state of Georgia in 2010 and that his filing applies nationally. The name is an acronym that stands for “electronic repetitious informational clone application." The name also corresponds to the birth name of Underwood's twin sister, Erika. 'E.R.I.C.A' is the search engine for My24erica.com, an entertainment news aggregation site. Bank of America disputes the lawsuit and has filed a counterclaim, saying Erica is based on the last five letters of its name. The virtual assistant is used in its mobile banking app to answer customer inquiries concerning their accounts.


Mr Underwood accuses the bank of unfair competition and states in the suit that the bank’s use of the name Erica, ‘if allowed to continue, [is] likely to create confusion and reverse confusion. ... Because of the defendant's size and resources, consumers are likely to believe that it is Underwood and My24 that are the junior users and that it is Underwood and My24 that are unfairly competing.’ He is seeking to have Bank of America’s federal trademark for Erica canceled and to force the bank to stop using the name Erica, and seeks unspecified damages. Bank of America has responded that claims are without merit, while Mr Underwood says he simply want to protect his intellectual property.

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