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Supreme Court hears oral argument in trademark case via teleconference
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Supreme Court hears oral argument in trademark case via teleconference

The US Supreme Court heard oral argument via teleconference the case of United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V.

The case presents the question of “[w]hether, when the Lanham Act states generic terms may not be registered as trademarks, the addition by an online business of a generic top-level domain (‘.com’) to an otherwise generic term can create a protectable trademark.”

In the oral argument, the Supreme Court heard first from the petitioners, the US Patent and Trademark Office. The petitioners argued that, under the Lanham Act, a generic term cannot be “entitled to trademark protection no matter how much money and effort the user has poured into promoting the sale of its merchandise and what success it has achieved in securing public identification.” In contrast, the respondent, Booking.com, argued that a different test, known as the primary significance test, should apply, and that the court should look at “the dividing line between what’s a generic term and what’s a descriptive term.”