wins a key trademark case in the Supreme Court


It is a key victory that could have side effects for companies on the Internet.

The 8-1 court decision held that adding ".com" to a generic word can make the entire combination eligible for trademark protection.

"We have no reason to deny the same benefits that Congress granted to other brands that qualify as non-generic," wrote Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the majority opinion. had requested to register its name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But the office initially denied registration, arguing that generic names are not eligible for trademark protection.

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The case was the Supreme Court's first oral argument made over the phone, a procedural change due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent that the generic term trademark policy is "inconsistent with trademark principles and strong trademark policy."

"By making such terms eligible for trademark protection, I am afraid that today's decision will lead to a proliferation of & # 39; & # 39; brands, granting their owners a monopoly on a domain zone useful and easy to remember, "Breyer wrote.

During the arguments, the attorneys at the Patent and Trademark Office stated that the use of generic terms in trade names cannot be protected as trademarks and, therefore, even if a generic term has acquired a secondary meaning, it should not be possible to register a trademark.

Lawyers for argued in their report that their client needs trademark protection "to prevent competitors from opening travel agencies in stores or diluting their brand by selling travel products on airport shops. "


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