IP at the Supreme Court Series: United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V.

May 4, 2020 | 5:00pm

American University Washington College of Law regularly invites counsel of record and counsel for selected amici to offer post-argument reflections in intellectual property (and related) cases heard by the Supreme Court. These events are held on the afternoon of oral argument before the Court.



The case on the Supreme Court’s docket this year that the trademark bar is most excited about is U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com. The case will be the first occasion for the Court to opine on generic marks since it decided “shredded wheat” was generic in  1938. And this case raises the genericness doctrine in the context of a domain name. Respondent Booking.com operates a website that allows customers to book travel and hotel accommodations. The U.S.P.T.O. refused registration of booking.com finding it to be generic and therefore barred by the Lanham Act. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Booking.com is a protectable trademark. Now the Supreme Court will decide if the addition of “.com” to an otherwise generic term can create a protectable trademark.

All briefs available on SCOTUSblog: United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V.