Dell's Cloud Computing Trademark Application Criticized

Round Rock (TX) - Cloud computing is one of the big, general IT trends these days. You just know that someone claiming the trademark for this phrase would not get the best press and this is what just happened. This time the target is Dell.

The trademark filing was first noted by Sam Johnston in a post on Google Groups. What makes this post interesting is that the discovery was made on the basis of curiosity of Johnston and not on the basis of legal action of Dell. In fact, Dell’s "Cloud Computing" trademark filing had been under the radar of the media since its submission in March of 2007.

The filing, which describes a "Custom manufacture of computer hardware for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others" in the Goods & Services category of trademark 77139082, has been available for opposition since April of this year. Trademarking of general phrases is usually criticized by media and in this case it may be especially the case since Dell noted that no claim is made to the exclusive right to use "computing" apart from the mark as shown," indicating its intentions to protect the combined term.

However, David Frink, a Dell spokesman, told Computerworld that Dells motivation to register "cloud computing" as a trademark is based on the "intent to protect [Dell’s] intellectual property in [Dell’s] growing cloud computing business." He said that Dell’s intent "is not to stop others from using the term." If that in fact is true and Dell will not pursue any legal action against other companies using the term - and so far the company has not shown any indications that it will - the registration may actually not be so bad for the industry: In the end, the filing may protect the industry from lawsuits from someone else, such as an IP firm.

Dell was not the first company to file for a cloud computing trademark. NetCentric filed for the trademark (75291765) back in May of 1997, but has since abandoned the rights to the trademark. 3Tera currently owns the trademark Cloud Computing without Compromise (77468266) and Abdul Hafiz Ibrahim, an individual from the UK, owns Hyper-Cloud (77486858), which is described as "Computer hardware and software for the delivery of cloud computing services" and was filed on May 30, 2008.

  • Seems they planned to hold their ground but were denied: