Via The TTABlog®:
“Finding the term HOTELS.COM to be generic for “providing information for others about temporary lodging” and “making reservations and booking for temporary lodging,” the Board affirmed a requirement that Applicant Hotels.com, L.P. disclaim that term in the mark shown immediately below. In re Hotels.com, L.P., Serial No. 76414272 (September 11, 2006) [not citable].”
Hit the link above to see the full post on The TTAblog, but it basically boils down to this: The TTAB refused to register “hotel” in “hotel.com” alleging that its generic for a site that gives information of hotels (pretty much along the same lines of the “patents.com” holding).
Hotels.Com should be able to register, in my opinion, the image mark at least, even if it has to disclaim the word per se. Regardless, its an interesting read nonetheless.