Thomas asked the questions via audio teleconferencing in a case on whether Booking.com could trademark its namesake.
The last time Thomas, who is the only African-American and the only Southerner on the court, asked a question was in March 2019, in a case involving a black Mississippi death row inmate, Curtis Flowers, who was tried six different times for the 1996 murders of four people in a furniture store.
Before that, Thomas asked one question in 2016, less than two weeks after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. That question came 10 years after the last time Thomas had chimed in during oral arguments.
"Could Booking acquire an 800 number that's a vanity number, 1-800-booking for example, that is similar to 1-800-plumbing, which is a registered mark?" Thomas asked to the U.S. government's lawyer, Erica Ross.
After Ross' response, Thomas followed up: "That could be true, but I'd like you to compare this to Goodyear," Thomas said, referencing a past case. "In Goodyear, you had a generic term, but you also had an added term, such as company or inc, which any company could use. With Booking here there could only be one domain address dot com, so this would seem to be more analogous to the 1-800 numbers which are also individualized."
Monday, May 04, 2020
May the 4th be with you. (UPDATED)
UPDATE -- the Supreme Court arguments were interesting this morning. The Court didn't collapse because there was live-streaming. The big news was that Justice Thomas asked questions! Here's some coverage.