Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dell Trademarking "Cloud Computing?"

It's the latest buzzword, and the latest hot thing in computing: cloud computing. Just Tuesday AT&T announced it was entering the market. HP entered the market with data backup in the cloud earlier this year. And on and on.

Interestingly, and seemingly without challenge, it seems a particular Round Rock, TX company has decided to try to trademark the term "cloud computing," and may in fact have succeeded.

According to the USPTO, the trademark application was filed on March 23rd, 2007. The term "cloud computing" would seem to be a generic term that has been used countless times in articles and the like. However, the trademark application was published for opposition in April, and was unchallenged. Technically, at this point, as a trademark attorney indicates here, Dell has all but received the trademark.
I'm a trademark attorney, and Dell has done more than just "try" to use the trademark. The application was published for opposition, no one lodged any complaints, and now the trademark will proceed to registration (once Dell submits examples of its trademark use). The mark can later be disputed once it is registered by anyone who believes they will be harmed by the registration of the trademark by Dell. Examining Attorneys at the USPTO usually catch phrases that are generally used by the public, thus I am surprised they let this one through with approval.
The application states the trademark is for:
Design of computer hardware for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others; customization of computer hardware for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others; design and development of networks for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others; Consulting services for data centers and mega-scale computing environments in the fields of design, selection, implementation, customization and use of computer hardware and software systems for others; Consulting services for data centers and mega-scale computing environments in the fields of design, selection, implementation, customization and use of computer hardware and software systems for others
Fun times, fun times. At least the attorney said even after registration, the trademark can still be challenged.

The trademark application was first noted by Sam Johnston, a member of the Cloud Computing group on Google Groups.

Ah, what companies won't do for a leg up.


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