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From American University Intellectual Property Brief:
Many adults in America today can say that they were participants in the Girl Scouts Program or the Boy Scouts Program. Often, they have fond memories of the gender segregated programs. The arrival of 2018 brought groundbreaking change as the Boy Scouts of America began to accept girls into its ranks, causing the Girl Scouts to break out the claws.
Hell hath no fury like a Girl Scout scorned. Last fall, the Boy Scouts of America, also known as the BSA, made the groundbreaking announcement that it would start accepting girls starting in 2018. In May of this year, the BSA made yet another announcement: it was officially changing its name to Scouts BSA to reflect the decision to include young women in its programs. While the organization will remain the same, the name of the program for older youth will be changed.
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) initially responded in a fiery blog post in October 2017, shortly after the BSA’s announcement that it would include girls. Specifically, the organization stated, “We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a free space for girls to learn and thrive.” The organization goes on to defend the advantages of the single-gender environment and all of the unmatched outcomes it provides to young girls. The organization summarized its post: “The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today – and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success.” In the era of the #MeToo movement, there may be some merit to this argument. Yet, at the same time, the push for equality between the sexes implies that perhaps it is time to end the segregated programs.
On November 6th, the GSUSA finally responded to the BSA’s announcement of its name change by filing a trademark infringement lawsuit against the BSA. These girls are done playing nice. In the complaint filed in a Manhattan federal court, the GSUSA claims trademark infringement, unfair competition, and trademark dilution. The GSUSA claimed that the BSA doesn’t have the right to use “scouts” or “scouting” and further notes that the Girl Scouts brand and activities will be marginalized as the result of BSA’s rebranding effort. The GSUSA claims that the name change has caused confusion among the public, leading people to assume that the Girl Scouts no longer exist or have merged with the BSA. The complaint also declares that only GSUSA has the right to use the GIRL SCOUTS and SCOUTS trademarks with leadership development services for girls. The complaint includes photographic evidence of fundraising and other materials that point to concrete evidence of actual confusion.
Link to the rest at American University Intellectual Property Brief