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Dell files patent office application for 'cloud computing'

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Dell is attempting to trademark the tech industry’s favourite buzzword – “cloud computing”.

The Round Rock, Texas firm is trying to gain control of the ubiquitous term according to a document filed on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website.

Dell’s application has already reached the so-called “notice of allowance” stage, whereby a company is granted “written notification from the USPTO that a specific mark has survived the opposition period... and has consequently been allowed for registration”.

In other words, Dell has very quietly pushed its trademarking application past the phase where opponents of its move can have any say in the process.

But that doesn’t mean Dell now owns the term "cloud computing", which, according to a quick search on Google News has been used nearly 3,500 times in the past week alone. The USPTO notes: “Receiving a notice of allowance is another step on the way to registration.”

"Cloud computing" is basically a catch-all term used widely among CEOs - from Ballmer to Jobs and everyone inbetween - who are increasingly preoccupied with pushing their products and services online; or, as they prefer it, up into the cloud. So if Dell successfully snatches the trademark, its usage could be somewhat curtailed.

In the USPTO filing Dell gives its definition of the term as: “Custom manufacture of computer hardware for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others.” But it doesn’t provide a date when the computer vendor first used the phrase. That’s presumably something that could have some sway over whether the patent office grants Dell the trademark.

El Reg first referenced the term on 28 March 2007, in an article on - you guessed it - Dell.

Dell could not be immediately reached for comment. ®

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