Software company will not trademark term 'social enterprise'

Peter Holbrook of Social Enterprise UK welcomes the decision by Salesforce, but the campaign to protect the phrase will go on

Peter Holbrook
Peter Holbrook

The software company Salesforce has abandoned plans to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’ after widespread opposition from third sector bodies.

Salesforce had applied to trademark the term, which it used to refer to the use of social media by business, in the EU, the US, Australia and Jamaica.

But it has now abandoned those plans and says it will stop using the term in its marketing materials because of fears that it would cause confusion with the social sector.

Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, said in a statement yesterday that "it was never our intention to create confusion in the social sector, which we have supported since our founding".

Social Enterprise UK, the umbrella body for social enterprise, launched the #notinourname campaign against the proposals five weeks ago.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of SEUK, said in a statement: "I would like to thank Marc Benioff for his personal engagement in this issue and his concern for the welfare of the world’s growing social enterprise movement. 

"We are delighted that Salesforce has made this decision and it’s absolutely to its credit that it has taken it publicly, offering an unequivocal statement of its future intentions. We have been impressed by its honesty and integrity. We know that this is no small deed."

He said his organisation would continue to campaign to ensure other technology companies stopped using the term.

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