Dell is seeking to trademark the term “cloud computing” even though it filed its application well after the term was being widely used. Dell’s application, dated March 23, 2007, has advanced to the “Notice of Allowance” stage. A notice of allowance is “a written notification from the USPTO that a specific mark has survived the opposition period following publication in the Official Gazette, and has consequently been allowed for registration. It does not mean that the mark has registered yet. Receiving a notice of allowance is another step on the way to registration.”
There’s a lot of hubbub about what Dell may be up to with this application. The obvious reason for a trademark application is the fact that Dell owns the domain cloudcomputing.com, which was registered on Feb. 28, 2007. Since the ICANN dispute resolution system historically favors trademark owners, it’s logical that Dell would seek a trademark on “cloud computing” to defend the domain from potential challenges.