As of Monday, The Girl Scouts (GSUSA) are suing the Boy Scouts (BSA) for trademark infringement. As of recent, the Boy Scouts have made efforts to re-brand themselves to be inclusive of all genders. Girl Scouts of America claim that this is creating brand confusion.
The Boy Scouts’ re-brand includes dropping the word “boy” from their title. The claim, which was filed in Federal Court in Manhattan, states that the Boy Scout program “does not have a right under either federal or New York law to use terms like scouts or scouting by themselves in connection with services offered to girls, or to re-brand itself as ‘the Scouts’”.
Furthermore, the Girl Scouts organization believes that this re-branding will sideline their current efforts to have an authentic scout organization for girls. They believe that people will begin to see the Girl Scouts as a less valuable, and as a less worthwhile alternative to the proposed “Scouts”.
In recent years, the Girl Scouts, among other organizations, have already seen a decline in membership. The organization argues that the re-branding of the Boy Scouts will lead to further decreases in membership. The claim states that “throughout the country, families, schools, and communities have been told that GSUSA and BSA have merged, or even that GSUSA no longer exists”. The Girl Scouts went on further to declare that “parents interested in signing up for Girl Scouts programs have instead mistakenly signed up for the new girls’ programs offered by BSA”.
The Girl Scouts are specifically asking that the court order “the Boy Scouts from using the term ‘Scout,’ ‘Scouts,’ ‘Scouting,’ or ‘Scouts BSA’ without an ‘inherently distinctive or distinguishing term appearing immediately before it’”.
Prior to this lawsuit, The Boy Scouts were set to start accepting girls in February. Perhaps, this litigation will halt those plans altogether.