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Dell cannot register "cloud computing" as a trademark because the term is a generic one describing services offered by many companies, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has said in an initial ruling.
In denying Dell's application, the USPTO included dozens of news stories and other material supporting its contention that cloud computing is a widely-used term of art for the technology industry.
If Dell were allowed to trademark the term it could send dozens of other vendors scrambling to find an alternative buzzword to describe their services and avoid messy lawsuits. IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Yahoo and Google all have employed the term cloud computing to promote their services.
But the model also means subscribers can be left stranded when a service has problems.
Which brings to mind an alternative definition of cloud: Something that darkens or fills with gloom.
It seems to me that Dell missed the boat on this one, and it could seem that someone wanted to capitalize (with lots of $'s) on the inconvenience that a patent would incur.
This is just an initial ruling, and Dell has 6 months to file a response. I've got to believe they will appeal, and that the commercial ads have already been storyboarded.
Meanwhile, I'm off to patent the phrase "Computing in a cloud".