Salesforce has ended its attempt to trademark the term “Social Enterprise” and various other terms associated with social enterprise solutions. The company had filed its request in the US, UK, Australia and Jamaica.
Company officials had hoped to have the term all to itself for future marketing materials geared towards the business sector.
In a statement released on Tuesday SalesForce said it reversed its decision based on responses from the “social sector.” At the heart of the issue was non-profits who believed the trademarked term would cause mass confusion.
While Salesforce says it applies the term to a suite of services meant to help businesses it acknowledged that other organizations in the social sector use the term to explain “organizations that apply commercial strategies to improve human and environmental well-being such as reducing poverty or improving education.”
Some organization took their message social in order to have the claim withdrawn. For example the Social Enterprise Alliance launched THISisSocialEnterprise.com which led to a near PR disaster for the organization.
In the meantime Salesforce likely wouldn’t have received its requested trademarks after setback in the US, UK, Jamaica and Australia.
In explaining his company’s position CEO Marc Benioff said after the withdrawal:
“It was never our intention to create confusion in the social sector which we have supported since our founding. As a result of the feedback we received, salesforce.com has decided to withdraw its efforts to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’ and plans to discontinue its use in our marketing.”
What term do you think SalesForce should trademark that will allow it to sell its suite of enterprise friendly social services to clients?