Booking dot yeah?

Did a United States appeals court just give the green light for the registration of generic marks? Not exactly, but the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in v. USPTO may have poked some holes in trademark law doctrine.  The USPTO had refused registration of the travel website’s mark “” The website successfully appealed to the Eastern District Court of Virginia and the Fourth Circuit upheld that decision. The USPTO argued that adding a top level domain (“.com”) to a generic second level domain (“booking”) can never transform the generic term into a protectable mark. However, the Fourth Circuit disagreed that a “per se” rule applied.  Instead, the court determined that based on’s consumer surveys, the mark was descriptive and therefore protectable. While its unlikely that the USPTO is going to start registering generic terms based on this decision, as expressed by the sole dissenter Judge Wynn, competitors seeking to register domain names may find it a cause for concern.