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Supreme Court says generic domains like can be trademarked

ars technica: “The US Patent and Trademark Office erred by finding the term was too generic for trademark protection, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. Trademark law prohibits anyone from registering generic terms that describe a class of products or services. Anyone can start a store company called “The Wine Company,” but they can’t use trademark law to stop others from using the same name. When the online travel giant Bookings Holdings sought to trademark its domain name almost a decade ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office concluded that the same rule applied. Booking Holdings challenged this decision in court. The company pointed to survey data showing that consumers associated the phrase “” with a specific website as opposed to a generic term for travel websites. Both the trial and appeals courts sided with, finding that was sufficiently distinctive to merit its own trademark—even if the generic word “booking” couldn’t be trademarked on its own. Trademark law declines to protect generic terms in an effort to promote competition. If a company could trademark a word like “booking” or “wine,” it could interfere with competitors who want to accurately describe their products in the marketplace. That would give companies that trademark generic terms an unfair advantage…”

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