Miranda Dobson

Social enterprises under software firm trademarking threat

Software and content management business Salesforce are in the middle of attempts to trademark the name ‘Social Enterprise’ for their company.

Salesforce currently run a business solution called ‘Social Enterprise’, for businesses to use social media through an ebook to connect with customers, employees and others involved in a business.

The company have clashed with social ventures in the third sector after they have taken their bid to the EU to trademark ‘social enterprise’. This move would mean that those in the social enterprise sector would not be able to use this phrase to describe themselves.

This move has the potential to negatively affect up to 68, 000 ventures in the UK alone, and comes after the firm applied to UK Intellectual Property Office.

Reports have said that Salesforce have refused to speak to Chairman of Social Enterprise UK, Peter Holbrook.

Mr Holbrook commented: “This further attempt by Salesforce to trademark ‘social enterprise’ in the EU is of serious concern to those working in the sector.

“If Salesforce is successful in its application, it could restrict social enterprises – good businesses that have been using the term for well over a decade. There is a great deal at stake here.

“It’s difficult to understand why Salesforce is willing to jeopardise a worldwide movement that has honourable motives. There are any number of other terms that the company could use to describe its products and services.

“The successive attempts by Salesforce to trademark the term has galvanised the sector. We have been inundated with offers of support and advice from our members and corporate partners.”

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