Dell files to trademark 'Podference' – presumably the mutant offspring of COVID-19 and a virtual conference?

We're guessing May's virtual Dell World conference is no mere webinar

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In an interesting IP rights grab, Dell has filed to trademark the word "Podference".

The applicant for the trademark was a chap named Sanjiv Sarwate whose LinkedIn profile says he's a senior legal director at Dell's Round Rock, Texas, HQ. The claim was filed on March 14 in America.

The application describes a Podference in two ways:

  1. Downloadable podcasts in the field of technology, business and digital transformation; Downloadable video recordings featuring technology, business and digital transformation; Downloadable written articles in the field of technology, business and digital transformation; or
  2. Educational services, namely, conducting seminars in the field of technology, business and digital transformation; Providing a website featuring non-downloadable articles in the field of technology, business and digital transformation; Providing a website featuring non-downloadable videos in the field of technology, business and digital transformation

Why would Dell want to trademark "Podference"?

Easy: like so many others, Dell cancelled its big annual conference due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, and restructured it as a virtual event.

But if it could be a "Podference" instead, that could sprinkle a little podcast zeitgeist into a world suddenly awash with virtual events and online conferences. As Podcasts also assume listeners will time-shift to a content-consumption moment of maximum convenience, rather than attend in real-time, the new term could be another way to get a few more housebound souls to tune in to Dell content.

Dell may struggle to secure its trademark because Podference.com was registered in 2019 (and has its Whois data hidden and resale locked, so maybe Dell banked this a while back). A web search yields a few mentions of the term in a similar context to those Dell describes above. But the term was cancelled as a trademark in 2014 after its previous holder, Podference Technologies, gave it up for unknown reasons.

Podference still has a Twitter account that says it "helps coaches, trainers, project managers, speakers and educators deliver their content onto desktops and mobile devices, using existing technology". But its last tweet was in June 2013, which is ominous.

Whatever the outcome of the trademark process, The Register looks forward to attending Podferences – if only because two weeks from now we'll probably be desperate for anything new! ®

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