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Dell Does Not "Own" Cloud Computing

The US Patent & Trademark Office mailed the company last week what it calls "a non-final action"

Although no final determination as to the registrability of the mark has been made, Dell's attempt to register "Cloud Computing" as a trademark has resulted in the US Patent & Trademark Office mailing the company last week what it calls "a non-final action" - namely, a letter from the examining attorney "requesting additional information and/or making an initial refusal."

The news has been spreading across the Cloud blogosphere all weekend. In a characteristically analytical and useful post Sam Johnson (pictured) explains the refusal as follows:

"First they've argued that 'the applied-for mark merely describes a feature and characteristic of applicant’s services'. A mark is merely descriptive if it describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose or use of the specified services. That is, 'cloud computing' simply describes a type of computing in the same way that 'yellow bananas' describes a (common) type of banana.

Furthermore, they have declared 'cloud computing' generic, in that it is 'incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for applicant’s services'. This makes sense given that few of us think 'Dell' when we think of 'cloud computing', even in this context.

This is good news for cloud computing in general, and proof that the term is taking hold. It will be interesting to see if Dell continue flogging this particular dead horse, or get on with building the hardware that will power the next generation of computing."

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