O termo Booking.com é passível de registro e proteção pelo regime legal de marcas e patentes, uma vez que, não é identificado como um termo genérico pelos consumidores.
UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE ET AL. v. BOOKING.COM B. V. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 19–46.
Argued May 4, 2020—Decided June 30, 2020
A generic name—the name of a class of products or services—is ineligible for federal trademark registration. Respondent Booking.com, an enterprise that maintains a travel-reservation website by the same name, sought federal registration of marks including the term “Booking.com.” Concluding that “Booking.com” is a generic name for online hotel-reservation services, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) refused registration. Booking.com sought judicial review, and the District Court determined that “Booking.com”—unlike the term “booking” standing alone—is not generic. The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding no error in the District Court’s assessment of how consumers perceive the term “Booking.com.” The appellate court also rejected the PTO’s contention that, as a rule, combining a generic term like “booking” with “.com” yields a generic composite.
Held: A term styled “generic.com” is a generic name for a class of goods or services only if the term has that meaning to consumers. Pp. 6–14.
(a) Whether a compound term is generic turns on whether that term, taken as a whole, signifies to consumers a class of goods or services. The courts below determined, and the PTO no longer disputes, that consumers do not in fact perceive the term “Booking.com” that way. Because “Booking.com” is not a generic name to consumers, it is not generic. Pp. 6–7.
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