Salesforce.com Foundation was my employer for 10 years. I am very proud of the work we accomplished there bringing enterprise class data management to approx 8,000 organizations in 50 countries. Two years ago, salesforce.com starting using the term "social enterprise" in their marketing to describe businesses that engage with their various stakeholders through social media. That messaging was evidently successful because they applied to copyright the term in a handful of markets including the US and the UK.
This copyright application caught the attention of those that created the term "social enterprise" and have been using it for many years to describe social impact enterprises. Several social sector organizations and individuals (including Grameen's leader Mohammud Yunus), spearheaded by Social Enterprise UK, worked hard to get the attention of salesforce.com. It worked and today salesforce withdrew it's application for the patent. Additionally, salesforce.com wrote this in their press release:
Salesforce.com has engaged in a dialogue with a number of these concerned parties, listened to their feedback, and is now withdrawing its applications to trademark the term “social enterprise.” In addition, salesforce.com will look to remove any references to “social enterprise” in its marketing materials in the future.
This is impressive. Maybe it is how all companies should act. No, definitely it is how all companies should act. And, this company gets credit and my thanks for the simple act of doing the right thing. thanks Salesforce.com and Marc Benioff.
Article Excerpt: SAN FRANCISCO – September 4, 2012 – Salesforce.com [NYSE: CRM], the enterprise cloud computing company, announced today it plans to withdraw its applications to trademark the term “social enterprise.”