Dell may be trying to grab control of a term that could define technology infrastructure for years to come.
The company is applying to trademark the term "cloud computing," according to a document on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site.
The application has reached the Notice of Allowance phase, where a company receives "a written notification from the USPTO that a specific mark has survived the opposition period ... and has consequently been allowed for registration," according to the USPTO Web site. The opposition period gives other parties a chance to object to an application.
However, it does not mean a trademark has been registered yet. "Receiving a notice of allowance is another step on the way to registration," the USPTO says on its Web site.
In the application, Dell describes cloud computing as "custom manufacture of computer hardware for use in data centers and mega-scale computing environments for others."
Dell officials declined to comment on the application.
The term cloud computing, which has emerged in the last few years, refers to a computing environment where data and services reside in scalable datacenters accessible over the Internet. The demand for such environments is being driven by the growth of technologies such as social networking, streaming media, and mobile devices.
Through its Cloud Computing Solutions program, Dell already offers cloud computing services, including datacenter designs and hardware and services for data centers.
Dell is far from being alone in the world of cloud computing. IBM is working with universities to develop hardware and software management tools for large-scale computing environments. Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Yahoo and several universities joined forces this week to promote cloud computing research and education for data-intensive Internet applications.
Microsoft and Apple have recently launched their own Internet-based cloud computing services for storing and accessing data, called Live Mesh and MobileMe, respectively.