Document Type


Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



American University Washington College of Law Research Paper No. 2021- 06

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 30, 2020 decision in U.S.P.T.O. v. B.V. held that consumer perception alone should determine whether terms are registrable as trademarks or generic and free for all to use. The issue was whether a term that is generic for the class of goods or services can be protected as a trademark when followed by “.com.” The case was about the proper test for genericity in “” cases. In its first domain name case, the Court held that “[a] term styled ‘’ is a generic name for a class of goods or services only if the term has that meaning to consumers.” The Court chose not to apply its own precedent—Goodyear’s Rubber Mfg. Co. v. Goodyear Rubber Co.—that held that a generic term embellished only by the generic designation of a business entity necessarily produces a generic composite. The U.S.P.T.O. had argued that the consumer perception inquiry was unnecessary in this case just as it had been in Goodyear.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.