The US Supreme Court granted certiorari on Friday in case over booking.com trademark registration. The Solicitor General petitioned in July for the Supreme Court to hear the case.
The case involves the travel website, booking.com, which attempted registration of a trademark for its website name. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refused to register the website’s trademark. The Solicitor General described in his petition the USPTO’s reasoning:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refused registration. The agency concluded that the term “booking” is generic for the services as to which respondent sought registration, and that the addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” did not create a protectable mark.
The Lehman Act, 15 USC 1051, provides the authority for the USPTO to refuse trademark registration. Additionally, common law precedent determined the specific standard for which the USPTO may refuse registration. The Solicitor General claims that previous court cases indicate that generic terms may not be used as trademarks. He further contends that “booking.com” falls under the generic term classification, because the terms “booking” and “.com” are generic terms.
Booking.com responded that the term “booking.com” is not generic as a whole, and the USPTO should accordingly grant the trademark. The Supreme Court will likely hear the case in the spring and decide the case by June.