OCTOBER TERM, 2019
NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
ET AL. v. BOOKING.COM B. V.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
No. 19–46. Argued May 4, 2020—Decided June 30, 2020
A generic name—the name of a class of products or services—is ineligible
for federal trademark registration. Respondent Booking.com, an en-
terprise that maintains a travel-reservation website by the same
name, sought federal registration of marks including the term “Book-
ing.com.” Concluding that “Booking.com” is a generic name for online
hotel-reservation services, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office
(PTO) refused registration. Booking.com sought judicial review, and
the District Court determined that “Booking.com”—unlike the term
“booking” standing alone—is not generic. The Court of Appeals af-
firmed, finding no error in the District Court’s assessment of how con-
sumers perceive the term “Booking.com.” The appellate court also re-
jected the PTO’s contention that, as a rule, combining a generic term
like “booking” with “.com” yields a generic composite.
Held: A term styled “generic.com” is a generic name for a class of goods
or services only if the term has that meaning to consumers. Pp. 6–14.
(a) Whether a compound term is generic turns on whether that term,
taken as a whole, signifies to consumers a class of goods or services.
The courts below determined, and the PTO no longer disputes, that
consumers do not in fact perceive the term