by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 28th 2009 7:18pm
Eric Goldman points us to the news that Hotels.com has had the trademark application on its own name rejected (warning: pdf) as being too generic. I have to admit I'm really, really surprised about this. I would think that the combination of "hotels" with a ".com" on the end switches it from being generic to distinct, since there's only one hotels.com. However, the trademark board and the court note that there are lots of other sites that use a combination of hotels and .com, such as www.all-hotels.com, www.web-hotels.com, www.my-discount-hotels.com. That could be true, but I think those are all different enough themselves from the straight hotels.com that even getting a trademark on hotels.com alone shouldn't prohibit those other sites from existing. But that's not what the court found, noting that hotels.com itself was perfectly generic and unprotectable by trademark. It's not clear how much this would actually matter, since anyone else using the phrase will ultimately end up helping to advertise hotels.com itself. However, it does raise significant questions about trademarks on other generic words plus a .com at the end.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Outnumbered And Outgunned, Marriott Sort Of Backs Off Stupid Plan To Ban Guest Device Wi-Fi
- Google, Microsoft, Wireless Carriers Form Rare Alliance To Battle Marriott's Dumb Wi-Fi 'Jamming'
- Onity Wins: Hotels That Bought Their Easily-Hacked Door Lock Can't Sue According To Court
- Who Needs SOPA? US Court Wipes Sites From The Internet For 'Infringement' Without Even Alerting Sites In Question
- New Report Challenges The Whole 'IP Intensive Industries Are Doing Well Because Of Strong IP' Myth