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The US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in favour of Booking.com’s right to register its name as a trademark heralds increased litigation around generic trademarks, but is unlikely to open the floodgates, argues Diana Torres of Kirkland & Ellis.
It is rare to read an opinion of the US Supreme Court and a diametrically opposed dissent, and conclude that the reasoning in each is largely correct. But that may well be the initial takeaway from the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) v Booking.com, No. 19–46, (June 30, 2020).
The Supreme Court found that, although “booking” and “.com” were both generic, Booking.com was sufficiently recognised by the public to merit trademark registration.
Few would dispute that Booking.com is known to consumers as a site that provides online booking services, and that is precisely what a trademark is supposed to be: a unique source-identifier in the minds of consumers.
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