Booking.com has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have its name trademarked.

The lawsuit, filed against the office and its director Michelle Lee, came after Booking.com’s initial trademark applications were denied and a subsequent appeal was also denied. It was filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia late last week.

In the suit, Booking.com claims it has used its moniker since 2006, and prior to that, it used the similar Bookings.nl since 1997. It contends it has “among the most loyal consumer following for such travel and accommodations services,” and has advertised the brand name extensively.

The OTA filed several trademark applications from 2011-2012, which were subsequently denied by the Patent and Trademark office “on the dual grounds the mark is either merely descriptive for the identified services … or is generic for the identified services,” according to the lawsuit.

In 2014, Booking.com appealed the denials with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which was denied on Feb. 18, 2016, “on the asserted grounds that the mark Booking.com is generic or, in the alternative, that Booking.com is merely descriptive and plaintiff had failed to prove the mark had acquired secondary meaning.”

Booking.com contends that is not the case and “there is no actual evidence that plaintiff’s actual claimed trademark Booking.com ‘is the common descriptive name of a class of goods or services,’” according to the lawsuit.

The OTA also claims that a consumer survey it conducted after the appeal denial showed 75% of respondents recognized Booking.com “as a trademark, not a common name.”

In the lawsuit, Booking.com claims the appeals board’s evidence of genericness “consisted of lengthy character strings of third party domain names, such as ‘instantworldbooking.com,’ in which one must hunt to find the characters ‘b-o-o-k-i-n-g-.-c-o-m,’ much like playing a children’s game of word-finder.”

Booking.com also used its social media presence as an argument that it is not generic, stating it has over 2.7 million “likes” on Facebook, with nearly 58,000 people “talking about” its brand on the social media site. The OTA contends its Facebook statistics are higher than those of Travelocity, Hotels.com, Travelzoo and Orbitz. Booking.com also cited its 53,200 Twitter followers, more than OTAs Hotels.com, Trivago and Hotwire.

The lawsuit seeks a trademark for Booking.com, and any relief the court deems appropriate.

Comments

From Our Partners


From Our Partners

How You Can Sell Alaska This Summer - Webinar 1
How You Can Sell Alaska This Summer - Webinar 1
Register Now
We Love Travel Advisors 2022 Guide
We Love Travel Advisors 2022 Guide
Read More
Explorers Wanted: Who is the ideal client for Polar travel?
Explorers Wanted: Who is the ideal client for Polar travel?
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI