On Friday, November 8, the Supreme Court granted the federal government's petition for review in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com. The issue to be reviewed is whether the addition of the generic top-level domain ".com" to a generic term can create a protectable trademark.
The dispute first arose when Booking.com applied to register trademarks containing the term BOOKING.COM in connection with online hotel reservation services. The USPTO refused registration on the ground that the term "booking" is generic for the underlying services in the application and that the addition of the generic top-level domain ".com" did not create a protectable mark. The decision was reviewed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which held that BOOKING.COM was non-generic and potentially protectable as a trademark. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.
The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) has unequivocally addressed the current standard of review for patent claim construction. Accordingly, the Court has held that a Federal Appellate Court can only overturn a District Court’s factual findings, if those findings were determined to be clearly erroneous. As such, this new standard transforms the de novo standard used by the Federal Circuit when reviewing patent claim construction.
Stephen Kimble is an inventor of a web-shooting gadget that allows kids to imagine they have super powers like Spiderman. More particularly, Kimble was granted a patent in 1991 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for an apparatus that shoots foam from the palm of the hand, to give the user an impression that a spider web is formed. As such, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) has agreed to review an appeal by Kimble in regards to considering overruling a 50-year old precedent that bars the collection of royalties on patents after they expire.
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Aereo “performs” the copyrighted works “publicly” as those terms are defined by the Copyright Act, thus infringing the copyrights of the content owners.
In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that all claims at issue in the highly anticipated case of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int'l. are invalid under §101 of the patent statutes.