USPTO have already denied Dell’s cloud computing trademark application:
A non-final action has been mailed. This is a letter from the examining attorney requesting additional information and/or making an initial refusal. However, no final determination as to the registrability of the mark has been made.
This all sounds fairly harmless but the argument presented is solid – its no wonder it’s taken them a few days to put together.
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.