Booking.com is Valid Trademark Says 4th Circuit
Written February 5, 2019
The United States Patent and Trademark Office correctly interpreted the Lanham Act as requiring an award of attorneys' fees, win or lose, to the Office in district court proceedings that review decisions of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held on February 4, 2019. Booking.com B.V. v. Iancu, 4th Cir., No. 17-2459, 2/4/19.
Furthermore, the Court concluded that “Booking.com” is a valid trademark even though the word “booking” is a generic term, affirming the district court’s finding that “Booking.com” is a descriptive, rather than a generic, mark. The Fourth Circuit found that the public, taken as a whole, understood “Booking.com” to refer to the company rather than general online hotel reservation services. Further, the Court rejected the USPTO’s contention that adding the top-level domain (a “TLD”) .com to a generic second-level domain (an “SLD”) like booking can never yield a non-generic mark.