The step taken by Salesforce is an important one for the whole Social Enterprise movement, and we should thank them for getting us thinking. What Salesforce’s TM application indicates is that there are gaps in the discourse about what Social Enterprise is and isn’t.
Salesforce are simply a rapacious private sector company with a keen eye for a marketable idea – hence the trade mark application. Now it is down to objections to the application and definitions – it will be surprising if it is passed.
My view focuses on the social enterprise movement itself and in particular the so-called leadership offered by SEUK.
SEUK blindspot has always been defining social enterprise and gathering the movement behind it. They have always chosen to to keep the definition loose to attract as many bodies as possible, thus grow their influence, they too have self interest at play here. But if you play that game, it always leaves room for opportunists and Salesforce wont be the last.
What Salesforce have done begs the questions – Why did SEUK not opt to Trade Mark the term, was it a conscious part of their strategy not to or simply not on their radar – It would be good for Peter Holbrook to express his views as to the SEUK position on issues such as these rather than the reactive Salesforce shouldn’t being doing this... type stance.
If Salesforce get this through then it will be the social enterprise movement that will suffer but SEUK need to ask themselves what part did they play in letting it happen?