U.S. Supreme Court Determines Otherwise Generic Term When Combined With Generic “.com” Can Be A Registrable Trademark

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

In a June 30 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an otherwise generic term, when combined with the generic top-level domain “.com,” qualifies for trademark registration if consumers perceive the combination to identify a particular source for services.

As background, a “generic” term is used to indicate a general class of goods (e.g., “smartphone” or “bed”) or services (e.g., “accounting” or “advertising”). Generic terms generally cannot qualify as trademarks under the rationale that no single party should be given exclusive rights to a term that generally identifies a class of goods or services.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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