Salesforce loses ‘SyftForce’ TM challenge

16-03-2021

Alex Baldwin

Salesforce loses ‘SyftForce’ TM challenge

Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Salesforce failed to cancel a ‘SyftForce’ trademark in UK Intellectual Property Office opposition proceedings last week.

The UK customer relationship management platform launched a challenge against part-time job recruitment agency Syft Online after it filed an application to trademark ‘SyftForce’ in October 2017.

The trademark sought protection under Class 9 (computer software), Class 35 (personnel placement and recruitment services, Class 38 ( telecommunications services), Class 41 (education services) and class 42 (software as a service).

A formal opposition was filed by Salesforce in March 2018. The company claimed there was a likelihood of confusion between ‘SyftForce’ and five of its marks registered between 2014 and 2016, including the word marks ‘Salesforce’ and ‘Socialforce’.

Syft Online denied the grounds of the opposition and filed a counterstatement.

A hearing took place on 18 January this year, with Salesforce represented by Philip Harris, counsel at Lane IP, and Syft Online represented by J A Kemp.

While Salesforce submitted five trademarks as evidence, the hearing officer, Stephanie Wilson, focused predominantly on the similarities between two of Salesforce’s trademarks and the application.

Wilson noted that both applications covered goods and services related to computer software and that there were visual and aural similarities between ‘SyftForce’ and ‘Salesforce’. However, she also noted a low degree of distinctive character with ‘force’ — the common word between the two marks.

“As I have found there to be no likelihood of confusion in respect of the earlier marks identified by the opponent as representing its best case, it follows that there will also be no likelihood of confusion in respect of the opponent’s other marks,” Wilson concluded in the consolidated proceedings, dated March 8.

As a result, the opposition was unsuccessful and the judge ordered Salesforce to compensate Syft Online for preparing statements and filing evidence, a total of £1,000.

WIPR has contacted Salesforce for comment.

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