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Gold Winger

Trademarks

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However, they are doing their best to limit what can go on a shirt. Look at the list of Boy Scout trademarks http://www.bsalicensing.org/trademarklisting.htm

 

You couldn't have your shirt say "Boy Scout Troop 954" because Boy Scout is a trademark.

 

What about Philmont shirts? Philmont is a registered trademark as are the bull and arrowhead. You could have a locally made shirt that says, "Troop 954, Expedition to that big place in New Mexico."

 

As it says on the website "In effect, just about any mark that reasonably relates to BSA or its program is protected"

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Slouchhat writes:

 

"Is that really what is going on over there?"

 

I have seen three cease and desist letters myself so I assume that every American alternative Scouting group with an Internet presence (such as SpiralScouts) receives the same letter. The BSA also sends them to foreign associations with the same name as their American counterparts (the Baden-Powell Scouts Association in England, for instance).

 

I have seen groups start out with Gold Winger's "let BSA sue us" bravado, but when the letter actually arrives most affluent families with the skills, means, and social connections to establish organizations (in my experience always moderate Republicans), reexamine their personal liability beyond the protections that corporations are designed to provide, and quietly drop out.

 

Rather than playing defence "YouthScouts" took the initiative to sue the BSA over the trademark on the word "Scout." This allowed them to pick their venue (San Francisco rather than Irving Texas). The BSA's strategy in these cases is to drag the process out until the plaintiff's children age out of the program and the parents loose interest. The YouthScouts' case continues (seemingly forever), see:

 

http://youthscouts.org/news.html

 

In the 1990s the WFIS-NA decided to establish Scouting associations that did not use the term "Scout," so as to avoid in the United States their stunning defeat in Canada (their only minor victory was that Scouts Canada was unsuccessful in forbidding them to use the words "Baden-Powell"). The BSA's assertion that they own the generic fleur de lis (without an Eagle or shield) which is a more universal international symbol than words like "Scout" or "Pfadfinder," heads that off.

 

Kudu

 

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My "let 'em sue" was about the absurdity of BSA suing member unit over trademark infringement. That would really provide BSA with the good publicity that they desire.

 

BSA does have the money to wage endless court battle. The middle class moms and dads (I don't think Spiral Scouts are run by Republicans) who start up an organization don't have the money to pay for a good lawyer to fight BSA. So looking at losing their house and the kids college fund, they decide to fold up their tents and cease to be "Venture Rangers" and become "Exciting Activity Group."

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It is called Trademark Infringment and it is against the law, all over the world, even in Germany.

 

BSA will not sue a unit. They will sue the company the unit purchased their products from.

 

BSA specificaly says that units can use their trademarks - for their own use. If they start producing and/or selling BSA merchandise they then become a vendor or reseller and must have permission from BSA.

 

If the BSA approved retailers in your area have increased their prices to much, don't use them. Go with a small vendor and don't use any BSA tradmarks - simple. Eventually the BSA approved retailers will realize they are driving business away and bring down their prices.

 

I really don't see the point in bashing BSA for protecting their name the same as any national or international business does.

 

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"It is called Trademark Infringment and it is against the law, all over the world, even in Germany."

 

No, in Germany you can not trademark a Scouting term that was already in use all over the world (including your own country) before your association was established.

 

"Boy Scouts of America," "Star," "Life," & "Eagle," and similar BSA inventions are all legitimate trademarks (in a Scouting context) which are then extended for life by the BSA's Congressional Charter.

 

The YouthScouts case challenges the generic word "Scout" and if they are successful it will provide precedent to challenge "Be Prepared," "Tenderfoot," "Second Class," "First Class," "Venturer," the generic fleur de lis, and all of the other terms and symbols that were already in use in the United States in a Scouting context prior to the BSA.

 

That makes for a lot of free Troop T-Shirt material :-)

 

If you have the patience to browse pdf files, the evidence files in the YouthScouts link above provide a wealth of historical information about BSA trademarks.

 

Kudu

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So what you're saying ScoutNut, is that if I (as a BSA volunteer) used let's say Print Shop to create iron-ons with BSA trademarks and put them on Tshirts supplied by the parents of our Scouts at no cost, the legal department couldn't do anything?

 

Hypothetically speaking of course. ;)

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It is all about the money.

 

Units get shirts printed for their unit, not for resale! The unit is not in violation of trademark infringement & neither is the company who prints shirts with BSA logos strictly for a units use. The infringement occurs when shirts are produced to be sold outside of the unit.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

A blessed Christmas to all

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Ed,

Not sure if that is true. From the http://www.bsalicensing.org/council_faq.htm FAQ:

 

1. My T-shirt supplier is small, gives us a break on our t-shirts, and only produces a few T-shirts a year for special events. His average order is just $100. Does he still need a license? He's not making any real money and the application fees are too high for him.

 

All reproduction of BSA Trademarks, where the product is for sale or potentially resale, would require a license. The application fee was a one time $250, the fee applied to future royalties and in the case of T-shirts, the royalties were 7.5% on the total net sales or $7.50 per $100 (his average order). Because the application fee applies first to future royalties, the licensee would have to sell nearly $3,400 in T-shirts before ever paying any more royalties.

 

So even if it for use in-unit, they still need to be liscenced (or at least have a waiver if thy are doing it for free)

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Jeeze, that's a depressing read on that web site. As the man once said, "the times they are a changing"

 

7.5% royalty charge? That means a $10 t-shirt would suddenly be an $11 shirt.

 

They want to bury us with paperwork. A mom doing free embroidery has to apply for a waiver? That will encourage moms to do stuff.

 

Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

 

I suppose that if a unit goes to Kinko's to get the programs printed up for it's court of honor, Kinko's will have to get a license.

 

I used to think that the Girl Scouts were pretty bad. Looks like things are changing.

 

 

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Mark this day in the calendar, my fellow scouters, I'm virtually speechless.

 

But here's my suggestion: just formally establish your scouting organisation in Germany where we can wave this trademark BS off and tell them to bug somebody else.

 

This is one of the most absurd copyright things I've ever heard of. The term scout was much longer in existence than the BSA and I'm sorry to say that the courts which allowed such idiocy should re-think their approach towards common sense.

 

best regards,

Volker

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While it does seem a little impolite for us foreigners to be telling an American organization they haven't got it quite right, I'm with Slouchhat. To be making money out of copyright matters on the Scouting name seems over the top.

 

Protect the image, yes. Don't let someone call something Scouting if it's in direct contradiction with some of the basic principles. But don't let money rule everything.

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To be honest, I think it's sad.

I can understand that every organisation wants to protect its turf and not see their logo abused, etc. After all, most organisations do have a good name, image and do a lot of good work for the benefit of the kids.

That's what it's all about.

 

But here, I feel, things are going overboard and a negative image is being created.

It is beyond my understanding how a generic term like scout, scouting, etc. could be protected. For example, the USMC has a Scout Sniper Program, there is a veterans organisation for the Alamo Scouts, etc.

How scared must an organisation be to sue somebody over the use of a generic term?

 

I'm not telling our American friends how they have to handle things, I'm just happy to be in the fortunate situation that I can call myself a scout and don't have to fear the lawyers of a pretty big organisation breathing down my neck.

 

best regards,

Volker

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I gotta agree Slouchhat. Copyrighting generic terms like life & star & eagle & scouting & scout, etc. is just wrong. Adn forcing Scouting units to pay more for t-shirts & stuff like this is nothing more than greed.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Since UK Scouting doesn't have a subsidiary in the united states, the ax in log is up for grabs.

 

To me it makes sense to protect those trademarks or it might wind up that the KKK could be calling their advanced training "KKK Wood Badge."

 

However, protecting their trademarks doesn't mean that they have to make money off the deal.

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