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Salesforce.com tightlipped about social enterprise trademark move
Salesforce.com is refusing to discuss its plans to trademark the term ‘social enterprise’ with Social Enterprise UK chief Peter Holbrook or the media.
The global corporate, which describes itself as an ‘enterprise cloud computing company’ which connects companies with customers, applied to the UK Intellectual Property Office to trademark ‘social enterprise’ on 24 July. The term is already accompanied by the letters ‘TM’ on the company’s UK website.
Holbrook believes that the company is making similar moves in other countries and has made several attempts to engage Salesforce.com in a conversation about its plans, most recently with a letter to its head of intellectual property.
Salesforce.com’s definition of a social enterprise is ‘using social media to engage with customers and deliver an experience that builds brand loyalty for the enterprise’.
Holbrook said: 'We’re mystified as to why Salesforce are attempting to trademark a term that has been used for well over a decade to describe a way of doing business that exists to tackle social and environmental problems.'
Last week Holbrook wrote to Paul Durdik, Salesforce.com director of intellectual property requesting a ‘positive dialogue’. He wrote: 'We are increasingly concerned about what is happening at Salesforce – your repeated use of the name of our sector to describe your products and service; your attempts to trademark Social Enterprise in countries around the world for this use. We hope you will understand that this is confusing to our customers and stakeholders, and therefore damaging to us all.'
Holbrook said he had received an 'unsatisfactory response from Durdik, which didn’t outline the need for further discussion'.
Social Enterprise UK said that it had taken legal advice with the aim of protecting the term on behalf of all of those in the sector. It has also been in touch with social enterprise networks in other countries about joining forces in a campaign against Salesforce.com.
A spokeswoman for Salesforce.com told SocialEnterpriseLive that the company would not be commenting on this story to the media.
More about Salesforce.com and its approach to social enterprise here.
See Peter Holbrook’s full letter to Salesforce.com here.