In a ruling, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected an application by Dell to trademark the term "cloud computing." Dell had tried to trademark the term "cloud computing" for use with the company's offering of hardware, software and services for this new type of IT infrastructure. The other competitors in this space that also use the term "cloud computing" include IBM, HP, Amazon, Yahoo and Google.
efforts to trademark the term "cloud computing"
for the company's own use
has been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In a ruling posted on the trademark office's Web site Aug. 12, the agency rejected Dell's application to
trademark the term "cloud computing.
" The ruling reverses a
previous finding by the patent and trademark office that appeared to give Dell
legal rights to the "cloud computing" trademark.
In rejecting Dell's applications this time, the patent and trademark office
wrote that the term "cloud computing" is generic and could apply to
any number of services and products that are being developed for IT
"In addition to being merely descriptive, the applied-for mark appears
to be generic in connection with the identified services and, therefore,
incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for applicant's services,"
according to the trademark office's finding.
The concept of cloud computing has potential for enterprise companies and
those businesses involved in Web 2.0 commerce. While a good working model of
the cloud is years away, the concept is to make large-scale computing more
efficient by allowing an enterprise to offload some or all of its IT
infrastructure to a hosting provider and then allowing it to draw on
applications and computing on demand through the Internet.
In addition to Dell, IBM,
Hewlett-Packard and a number of IT vendors have begun offering cloud services
to build these cloud data centers. Other
Web 2.0 vendors, including Google, Amazon and Yahoo
, are all building cloud
computing data centers as part of their business.
Dell had originally applied to trademark the phrase "cloud computing" in
March 2007. The process had been ongoing for about 18 months; the trademark
office published Dell's application in March, and a notice of allowance, which
is the final step before a trademark is granted, followed in July. The
issue went unnoticed until earlier the week of Aug. 4
, when several blogs
and articles noted Dell's application.
It's not clear if Dell will appeal the decision. The trademark office did
note that Dell could appeal the ruling and provide additional evidence that
shows that the company has rights to trademark the term.