Supreme Court weighs trademark battle
05/07/2020|3:22:19 PM|Mediapost

Hotel reservation company Monday urged the Supreme Court to grant the company trademark protection for its name, even though generic terms are typically not eligible for trademarks.

At a first-of-a-kind hearing conducted via telephone and broadcast in real-time on C-SPAN, lawyer Lisa Blatt contended that consumers recognize the phrase “” as referring to a specific company. Therefore, Blatt argued, the business is entitled to a trademark, despite the generic nature of “booking.”

While the outcome of the case is hard to predict, several judges expressed concerns that allowing a company to trademark a generic term followed by “dot-com” would enable that company to monopolize language.

The battle over the site's name dates to 2016, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected's request for trademark. then challenged that decision in court.

U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia sided with the company in 2017, ruling that even though the word "booking" is generic, adding the top-level domain ".com" entitled the company to trademark protection.

Among other arguments, argued in its written papers that trademark protection would allow the company “to prevent competitors from opening storefront travel agencies, or from diluting its brand by selling travel products in airport shops.”

On Monday, Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg both suggested that did not need a trademark to deal with those concerns, because it could sue typosquatters or fraudsters for unfair competition.

The court is expected to announce a decision within a few months.

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