Bank of America Corp has won a court judgment barring a self-described cybersquatter from using the bofaml.com and mlbofa.com Internet domain names following the bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan found that J. Taikwok Yung, through his business Webadviso, had registered the names in bad faith, hoping to sell them back to the largest U.S. bank and cash in on publicity from the merger.
A lawyer for Yung had no immediate comment. Yung is appealing to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, court records show.
According to Tuesday's opinion, Webadviso registered the names through GoDaddy.com on the same day that news of the Merrill takeover surfaced in September 2008.
In a March 27, 2009, email, Yung said he would be willing to sell the bofaml.com name, and believed it could fetch near 7 figures on the open market, the opinion said.
Chin agreed with May 2009 findings of a National Arbitration Forum panel that the domain names were confusingly similar to Bank of America's well-established B of A trademark, and that Webadviso had no legitimate interest in the names and had registered them in bad faith.
Webadviso had registered about 180 domain names as of June 26, 2009, Chin wrote.
Bank of America completed its acquisition of Merrill Lynch on January 1, 2009. It uses the Bank of America Merrill Lynch name for its global banking and global markets businesses. The company is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The case is Webadviso, J. Taikwok Yung v. Bank of America Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-5769.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)