Dell‘s controversial attempt to claim ownership of the coinage “cloud computing” has officially been denied. The request was rejected by the US Patent and Trade Office on the basis that the term was “generic” and “therefore incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for applicant’s services.” This makes a strong case against Dell’s movement for a trademark, which initially seemed promising since Dell had secured the domain name cloudcomputing.com over a year ago. The decision was made on the reasoning that cloud computing is merely a type of computing, and therefore cannot be used as an identifier of Dell as a company.
Though competitors in the space were outraged at the attempt when news leaked earlier this month, Dell maintains that their application for trademark, dated March 23, 2007, came well before the term and technology had been widely acknowledged. This fact has partially been overlooked amidst the news on the issue. In retrospect the move seems incredibly bold, but I can’t help but feel that if this leaked in March 2007 the response would pale in comparison to what we are seeing now. So in all fairness, let’s cut Dell some slack, and just be happy we don’t have to come up with a new witty name for computing in the cloud.