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

by | May 5, 2020 | Trademark | 0 comments

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.