Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts Trademark Tiff Over Use of ‘Scout’ Part of Recruitment Battle

Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts Trademark Tiff Over Use of ‘Scout’ Part of Recruitment Battle

2020-12-29 13:08:08

The Girl Scouts are in a "very damaging" recruitment war with the Boy Scouts after the latter opened up its core services to girls, causing confusion in the marketplace and some girls unknowingly joining the Boy Scouts, lawyers from the age-old Girl Scouts organization claim in court papers.

Competition, more suspect than reality two years ago, has intensified as the Boy Scouts of America organization – which insists that recruits pledge to be "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and nice" – have been dishonest of late. recruited girls, according to claims in legal statements filed on behalf of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

The attorneys filed papers in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday to fend off an attempt by the Boy Scouts to open a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the Girl Scouts in 2018 before the trial.

Last month, Boy Scout attorneys asked a judge to dismiss allegations that the Boy Scouts cannot use "scouts" and "scouting" in recruiting girls without infringing trademarks.

They called the lawsuit & # 39; completely creditable & # 39 ;.

The Boy Scouts on Saturday pointed to legal arguments blaming the Boy Scouts for responding to their expansion plans with "fury and alarm" and said the Boy Scouts launched a "ground war" to ruin the Boy Scouts' plans to take in more girls. .

In a statement, the Boy Scouts said the program offerings for girls expanded “after years of requests from families” who wanted their boys and girls to participate in her character and leadership programs or for other reasons, including the desire to become an Eagle Scout.

"We applaud any organization that builds character and leadership in children, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, and believe that all families and communities benefit from being able to select the programs that best suit their needs" , the statement said.

In the filing, the Girl Scouts said that the Boy Scouts 'marketing of comprehensive services for girls was extraordinary and very damaging to Girl Scouts'. and an & # 39; explosion of confusion & # 39; had caused.

“As a result of the Boy Scout encroachment, parents mistakenly registered their daughters with Boy Scouts, thinking they were Boy Scouts,” the lawyers said, adding that this never happened before 2018.

The girl scouts said they can prove "rampant cases of confusion and misassociations between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts" after the Boy Scouts attacked girls and their parents with marketing and recruiting communications in a way that has never happened before.

However, in their statement, the Boy Scouts said, “To suggest that confusion is a predominant reason for their choice is not only incorrect – no legally permissible example of this has been offered in the case to date – but it is also dismissive of the decisions. of more than 120,000 girls and young women who have joined Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA since the programs became available to them. "

"The parties' programs, which show many similarities, are now directly competitive," said the girl scouts.

The organization cited evidence from a limited subset of documents submitted by 19 of the 250 local Boy Scout Councils, including evidence that registration fees were sometimes reimbursed to parents who falsely believed they had registered girls for the Girl Scouts.

It said repeated instances of confusion and interference at the local level by the Boy Scouts were just a fraction of what was happening nationwide.

Every dozen times, the Girl Scouts complained about unfair marketing, the Boy Scouts responded by blaming individuals, churches or others for what they said was an isolated incident, the lawyers said.

“According to Boy Scouts, the rampant confusion in the marketplace is everyone to blame, but his own,” they wrote.

Both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, like other major youth organizations, have seen membership decline in recent years as competition for the pandemic grew through sports leagues and busy family schedules.

In the spring of 2018, the Boy Scouts program for 11 to 17 year olds announced that it would change its name to Scouts BSA in early 2019. The parent organization, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Cub Scouts, a program for kindergarten through fifth grade children, kept their names.

The organization began admitting girls to the Cub Scouts in August 2018, and Scouts BSA began accepting girls in February 2019, lawyers said.

After that, Boy Scouts 'councils and volunteers began to use Girl Scouts' intellectual property to recruit girls, using targeted ads using terms like "Scout, Scouts, Scouting, Scout Me In and Scouts BSA," the lawyers wrote.

However, the Boy Scouts claim that & # 39; undisputed evidence & # 39; proves that the Boy Scouts & # 39; scout & # 39; have used alone for over 100 years and in connection with the marketing of a number of coeducational youth services for nearly 50 years.

It said hundreds of thousands of pages of documents produced in the lawsuit and more than 40 witness statements prove the Boy Scouts were never involved in trademark infringements or caused consumer confusion.

Girl Scouts attorneys said Boy Scouts councils in Illinois recognized that they put Girl Scouts' slogan in Cub Scout recruiting materials and Girl Scouts photos to a Boy Scouts "Scouts Sign-Up Night!"

They said a council of the Boy Scouts from western Massachusetts posted a recruitment brochure on Facebook with a photo of a girl depicted in her Girl Scouts Brownie uniform.

Meanwhile, Ohio Boy Scouts used the trademark Girl Scouts to try and get a local newspaper to write an article, suggesting a storyline titled "Boy and Girl Scouts Looking for Members," although the recruitment involved only the Boy Scouts. , the lawyers said.

In Seattle, a Boy Scouts council used the trademark Girl Scouts in social media recruiting materials, the lawyers said.

They said the confusion among children, parents, schools, and religious organizations has exploded, and they cited examples in other states, including Florida, Minnesota, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, and Hawaii.

Top Photo: This February 18, 2020 file photo shows Boy Scouts of America uniforms in the store at the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Summit Township, Pa. Girl Scouts of the United States of America claim the age-old organization is in a "very damaging" recruitment war with Boy Scouts of America after the group opened up its core services to girls, causing confusion in the marketplace and some girls unwittingly joining the Scouts. (Christopher Millette / Erie Times-News via AP)

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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