Campaigners claim victory in social enterprise trademark fight

Thursday, 6 September 2012 12:57 GMT

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Technology firm's intended use of the term "social enterprise" sparked global row

Technology firm Salesforce will withdraw its applications to trademark "social enterprise" following a campaign backed by social enterprise leaders across the globe, including Professor Muhammad Yunus, the 'father' of microcredit.

Salesforce has been using the term to describe an organisation that uses social media to build brand loyalty. It had begun moves to trademark it in the UK, the US, Australia and Jamaica.

“It was never our intention to create confusion in the social sector which we have supported since our founding, " Salesforce Chief Executive and Chairman Marc Benioff said.

“As a result of the feedback we received, Salesforce has decided to withdraw its efforts to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’. In addition, Salesforce will look to remove any references to ‘social enterprise’ in its marketing materials in the future.”

Social Enterprise UK launched a battle against Salesforce’s use of "social enterprise" in August. It campaigned on Twitter with a hashtag #notinourname and a letter signed by Yunus, Turning Point Chief Executive Victor Adebowale, shadow equalities minister Baroness Thornton and the Social Enterprise World Forum committee.

“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, " Social Enterprise UK Chief Executive Peter Holbrook said.

“Our intention now is to ensure that this respect for the name and the mission of the social enterprise movement holds beyond the Salesforce family. Other tech companies are using the term to describe non-social enterprises and they too must declare their intentions to desist."

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