Should booking.com trademark be allowed?


Earlier today, Assistant US Solicitor General Erica Ross argued with the US Supreme court that Booking.com’s trademark filing could lead to a monopolization of the term and should be denied. Other businesses may not legally be able to recognized themselves using the term, for example, ebooking.com or hotelbooking.com. She argued that the term is too generic to be trademarked, and that trademark law states no company can trademark a generic name.

However, the court argues that having “.com” on the trademark is similar to companies who differentiate themselves use Company or Co. They also used the example of companies being able to trademark an address or phone number. But they also seem to recognize that this would cause other companies to do the same thing, for example, travel.com or washingmachine.com, and have exclusive rights to those terms. They even noted that by having booking.com, that automatically give the website a competitive advantage, and trademarking the generic name would give them an even bigger competitive advantage.

Booking.com's attorney Lisa Blatt argued that if it helps consumers distinguished brands and that it is allowed, and that their main reason for filing is to prevent fraud and internet scams using their name.

From a business perspective, I can definitely see why this would be consider monopolistic. From an internet security perspective however, I can definitely see why booking.com would want to take on this battle. I’m somewhere in the middle on this one, but leaning more toward not allowing this trademark. There are many variant of many websites that would be in danger if this was allowed many other companies could follow suit.

BTW: This case marks the first time in history that the Supreme Court heard a case via teleconference!