Tuesday, 05 May 2020 19:49

Trademark Case Featured in First-Ever Live Audio Stream by Supreme Court of the United States

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It was a historic day for the Supreme Court of the United States, as the high court conducted oral arguments that were broadcasted in a live audio stream for the first time in its history. The format for the argument was also unique, with the Justices asking questions in order of seniority.

The first case to be argued was a trademark case, involving an appeal of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s refusal to register BOOKING.COM, based on the PTO’s position that it is a generic term for hotel reservation services and other related services, such that is incapable of functioning as a trademark. The Applicant appealed the PTO’s decision to a federal court, which ruled in its favor, finding BOOKING.COM to be a registrable (and thus enforceable) trademark. The decision was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the district court’s ruling and held that it did not commit error when it found that the PTO “failed to satisfy its burden of proving that the relevant public understood BOOKING.COM, taken as a whole, to refer to general online hotel reservation services rather than Booking.com the company,” i.e., as a source-identifying trademark.

The audio of the Supreme Court argument can be found here:  https://cs.pn/2SI6DJE. The decision on appeal, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, can be found here:  http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/172458.P.pdf.

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Oliver Ruiz

Oliver A. Ruiz is a partner with the firm, and represents clients and insurers in intellectual property disputes and litigation matters, as well as, in transactional matters, such as applications for trademark and copyright registrations. He has been rated as AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Ruiz is admitted to practice law in Florida and North Carolina state courts, as well as, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He also represents clients in U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings. 

He is a Past President of the Federal Bar Association's South Florida Chapter; and is active with other voluntary bar associations, such as the Dade County Bar Association and the Cuban-American Bar Association. Mr. Ruiz is also active with civic and service organizations, including the Rotary Club of Miami, where he proudly served as the Club's 100th President during its centennial year. Oliver earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, and a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law, where he was as a board member for the Moot Court Board, and President of the Student Bar Association. He is a native of Miami, and is fluent in Spanish.