Today’s Supreme Court decision in Booking.com held that generic terms coupled with top-level domain names can be eligible for trademark registration. This decision is a win for brand owners as it reinforces how – in the real world – consumers can view brands comprised of two or more generic terms as source identifying.
Notably, the court demonstrated an understanding that trademark law is designed to protect consumers from confusion, versus a property right owned by the inventor (as in patent law). Thus, evaluating how consumers perceive a brand is an important factor in determining the scope of protection to which a purported mark is entitled.
This decision will likely be viewed as positive from the marketing community, who often favor brands on the descriptive end of the spectrum as they typically require less effort to educate consumers on the nature of a product or service.
This article appeared in the June 2020 issue of MarkIt to Market. To view our past issues, as well as other firm newsletters, please click here.