A man has indicted Bank of America for naming its AI-charged, in-app virtual assistant, chatbot as “Erica”. Erica assists millions of customers of Bank of America in making simple transactions like balance inquiries and money transfers.
Erik Underwood, the creator of My24HourNews.Com service, based in Colorado has registered a trademark case against the bank. In October 2010, Underwood filed his personal virtual assistant, known as E.R.I.C.A “electronic repetitious informational clone application” in Georgia.
Erik’s E.R.I.C.A works as a search engine on a fun news site. The website defines it as an “artificial intelligence mobile search engine that infuses software and holographic digital technology seamlessly together; to create an environment where your digital device is alive and interactive with the consciousness of E.R.I.C.A.”
Charlotte Business Journal claims that Underwood’s lawyer first sent Bank of America cease-and-desist letter in May and then on 11 September registered a complaint with the US District Court in Colorado.
Underwood is pursuing costs from the bank along with repayments for lost profits.
Bank of America claims that it has called its bot Erica following the last five characters in its name, registering its own service trademark in 2017, for which it has also spent around $60 million. The bank further claims that it also asked its lawyer to enquire whether Erica trademark is available or not.
Last month, in the filed declaration, Randel Springer, the attorney, claims: “I understood that, because of the way in which Bank of America was developing its new virtual financial assistant, customers would need to be logged onto Bank of America’s online or mobile system when using it, and therefore would be aware that they were using a service provided by Bank of America, and not by Mr. Underwood.”