On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of firm client Booking.com, holding that the addition of “.com” to a generic term can create a protectable trademark. Writing for the Court, Justice Ginsburg stated: “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. Consumers . . . do not perceive the term ‘Booking.com’ to signify online hotel-reservation services as a class. In circumstances like those this case presents, a ‘generic.com’ term is not generic and can be eligible for federal trademark registration.”
Williams & Connolly partner Lisa Blatt presented oral argument in the case in early May, marking the first case in the Court’s history to be argued remotely, and the first case where live audio was available to the public. Partner Sarah Harris was lead brief-writer and second-chaired the case; other members of the team included Eden Schiffmann, Thomas Chapman, and John Swanson.
The case marked Lisa’s 40th argument before the Supreme Court. Though all cases vary and none is predictive, the Williams & Connolly Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation team is now 3-0 this Term.
Click here to read the Supreme Court opinion in United States Patent & Trademark Office v. Booking.com.
Click here to read coverage by Law360.