USPTO rains on Dell's app for 'cloud computing' trademark

The Patent and Trademark Office has officially refused to grant Dell a trademark on the term "cloud computing," as News.com posts.

The Patent and Trademark Office has officially refused to grant Dell a trademark on the term "cloud computing," as News.com posts. USPTO originally gave a thumbs-up to the trademark but earlier this month it overturned that preliminary decision.

The Patent Office declined to comment on the specifics of Dell's application, but Cynthia Lynch, an administrator for trademark policy and procedure, said the notification said it was an indication that her employer will deny a trademark or offer an "explanation of what (problems) were identified and give the applicant a chance to respond to that."

Lynch said that process usually takes a few weeks. She said "it's not unheard of, but it's definitely unusual" for a so-called Notice of Allowance for a trademark to be canceled.

The decision was first noted by Sam Johnston:
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.

Basically, then, the PTO figured out, somehow, just incredibly stupid their initial preliminary approval was.

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