Supreme Court to Settle Trademark Row Over Booking.Com Domain

Is Booking.com too generic a domain name to trademark? The US patent office seems to think so.

The US Supreme Court recently granted certiorari to hear the case of Booking.com, which has been denied permission to trademark its domain name, Booking.com.

The first judgement was awarded in July this year, when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refused registration of the trademark, but the Solicitor general petitioned and brought this to the US Supreme Court, which is now due to hear on the case.

The travel website wants register trademark for the domain name Booking.com, as per the business name it operates, but as under the Lehman Act, 15 USC 1051, the US patent office has refused the trademark registration, Booking.com has no option but to appeal in what could be a precedent setting case for trademark law.

The Solicitor General has stated that based on previous case law, generic terms such as ‘booking’ and ‘.com’ may not be used as trademarks. Depending on the US Supreme Court’s pending ruling, this could change.

The travel booking firm has responded on the case, assuring that the term “booking.com” is not generic as a whole and that the USPTO should award registration of the trademark. The hearing is due in Spring and the Supreme Court will make its final ruling by June.

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