#Booking yeah! But don’t rush registering your generic #domains as trademarks

The US Supreme Court today affirmed that the domain name “booking.com” can be registered as a trademark (BOOKING.COM) instead of seen as merely a generic domain name.

The decision should be well-perceived by many domain name investors that hold generic domain names. But a little detail hidden in the decision determines which domains qualify as such – those that distinguish themselves among the class described by the generic.

Says the decision:

While we reject the rule proffered by the PTO that “generic.com” terms are generic names, we do not embrace a rule automatically classifying such terms as nongeneric. Whether any given “generic.com” term is generic, we hold, depends on whether consumers in fact perceive that term as the name of a class or, instead, as a term capable of distinguishing among members of the class.

In other words, to get a trademark registration for your generic domain that includes the TLD – presumably, .com – the term itself should not only pass the requirements of use through interstate commerce, it must also pass the consumer recognition test as a unique brand, product, and service.

Otherwise, get prepared to fight your way through the USPTO and to the Supreme Court, like BOOKING.COM did.

Domain law.

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