Dell's petition to trademark the term 'cloud computing' has been struck down by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The USPTO issued a ruling last week which denies the company's claim on the term, but does leave Dell with the option of appealing.
Dell describes cloud computing as the 'custom manufacture of computer hardware for use in data centres and mega-scale computing environments for others'.
But the USPTO ruling stated that Dell's claim on the term was not specific enough to warrant a trademark.
"Registration is refused because the applied-for mark merely describes a feature and characteristic of applicant's services," the USPTO said in its filing.
"In addition to being merely descriptive, the applied-for mark appears to be generic in connection with the identified services, and therefore incapable of functioning as a source-identifier for applicant's services."
When news of Dell's cloud computing trademark push first surfaced earlier this month, many in the industry raised objections.
It was claimed that the term had been freely used by numerous other companies, news organisations and industry pundits to describe large-scale hosted computing systems and web-based services.
This was also recognised by the USPTO in handing down its decision. The office cited Lexis Nexus search results which suggest that the term dates back to the mid-1990s when used to describe the network computing systems of the day.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago