Salesforce.com Drops Bid To Trademark ‘Social Enterprise’
Benioff sees the error of his ways
Salesforce.com has withdrawn an application to trademark the term “social enterprise” after receiving complaints about its bid from organisations in the “social sector”.
The term “social enterprise” has been in use for many years, to describe organisations that tackle social and environmental issues, CEO of Salesforce.com Marc Benioff was told, in a letter signed by activists and people working for social change, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.
“The social enterprise term has been used for nearly two decades by a worldwide movement for social justice that has support from governments and civil society organisations all over the world,” said the letter , which was sent at the end of August. “Your organisation’s attempts to take over the term are very damaging to our movement. We ask that Salesforce ceases to use the term ‘social enterprise’ for private profit.”
It also called on Salesforce.com to cease “advocating that its customers, many of which are private companies, are social enterprises, when they are not.”
Not so social enterprise
Salesforce.com kicked off its annual Dreamforce user conference last year by saying businesses of all sizes should get ready to build the “social enterprise”. Since then, it has been pushing the message to customers and potential clients.
But yesterday the cloud company said it was going to end its application for the term, and would also remove any references to “social enterprise” in its marketing materials in the future.
“It was never our intention to create confusion in the social sector which we have supported since our founding,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com. “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.”
The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pioneer will not want embarrassing stories to emerge during its premier annual conference, Dreamforce, which kicks off in San Francisco later this month.
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