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.
Comcast's £29.7bn winning bid more than twice the £13.7bn Rupert Murdoch valued Sky at just eight years ago
A nuclear strike has been considered, but Bruce Willis is nowhere in sight
Spray-on antenna could enable seamless integration of antennas with everyday objects
Parker Solar Probe, TESS and GOLD missions will deliver exciting data, claims NASA