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This article in a nutshell states:
Vocaloid (ボーカロイド, Bōkaroido) is a singing synthesizer application, with its signal processing part developed through a joint research project between the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain and Japan's Yamaha Corporation, who backed the development financially—and later developed the software into the commercial product "Vocaloid". The software enables users to synthesize singing by typing in lyrics and melody. It uses synthesizing technology with specially recorded vocals of voice actors or singers.
The first Vocaloids, Leon and Lola, were released by the studio Zero-G on January 15, 2004, both of which were sold as a "Virtual Soul Vocalist". The software got much more attention as it headed into it's second era with Vocaloid 2, headed by the popular Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku, developed and released by Crypton Future Media.
Currently many derived and original characters carry the title Vocaloid despite that they are not official or recognized as such by a Vocaloid company. It is unknown how Yamaha and associated companies feel about the brand name being used for fanon purposes.
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