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Gold Winger

Trademarks

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GoldWinger, I keep telling you, you'd be surprised at some of the people in SpiralScouts. I don't ask the political affiliations of my fellow leaders (and generally avoided the question myself when I was the ...um... lucky... (yeah, that's the word) person responsible for most of the organizations operations. Among the adults behind the scenes, there are doctors, lawyers, engineers....and even a politician :-)

 

Kudu's right though - I've seen several cease and desist letters, not just the one that went to SpiralScouts. And I've seen replies from several lawyers, who have each taken a different path to responding. Thus far, though, since SpiralScouts never did receive a response to the letter our lawyer sent back, I'm really not sure what to think.

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I don't hate Scouting, but I'm not crazy about this policy! Looking at the FAQ page, it appears that if you have your back-to-Scouting night flier copied at Kinko's, Kinko's is violating the trademark if you have a logo on the flier. Of course, in most of the real world, everybody would know that such policies aren't enforced at the micro level, and that nobody is going to care or do anything about it if you have a dozen t-shirts made at a local, unlicensed silkscreen shop. However, there are plenty of people in BSA who will not have that attitude, and will actually obey these requirements even in the most picayune, silly applications. They are the ones BSA is hurting with this.

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Not long ago, I had some BSA material copied at a national copy chain. At that time, I believed that the old rules still applied so that's what I told the manager. He wasn't sure so he called their legal department who said that it was okay. I'm sure that someday the legal department will catch up with reality and when Troop 945 wants to get programs copied for their Court of Honor, the manager will say, "Sorry, can't do that" just like when you want to get your kids' school pictures put onto a coffee mug.

 

Another thing that will happend that the local screen shop that makes a dozen or two shirts for most of the units in a district will get hammered and wind up going out of business. That will be excellent publicity for BSA, "Boy Scouts Put Shirt Shop Out of Business."

 

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Being a small and new troop the t-shirt costs were going to be high. With only 9 boys and a few adults the cost was about $20 a t-shirt shop for a 2 color screen. Even 1 color was $17. We were supplying the screens, but it was such a low run so the labor was high. The boys had made a cool design and the colors were required to make it look good. There is no logo on the shirt and the word Boy Scout do not appear. Basically its just our troop number, charter org and a campfire.

 

Our troop includes one t-shirt a year with the annual troop recharter fees so we're not selling shirts and dealing with collecting money.

 

A local craft shop was selling a cotton/poly blend shirts at 5 for $11. We then bought some dark color ink jet transfers, in bulk they cost about $1.15 each. We use OEM ink on the printer which saves a lot of money.

 

So we printed out 14 transfers, ironed them on and passed them out.

 

The other nice thing is that we don't have to deal with a minimum order and we can print as needed. So nothing to store.

 

I would not recommend this for a large order or big troop but for us this fit us well.

 

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Hello,

this sounds like a very good way to handle things for a small troop and I bet that's how many smaller troops actually do it.

 

What I'd like to know, though, is why BSA sends legal letters out to other scouting organisations. Letters don't get sent out without somebody making it happen and that's usually not some clerk who says "Hey, I think it's a good idea to send Baden-Powell Scouts a legal letter."

There must be a plan behind this and I have the odd feeling that it could be more than just protction of trademarked generic terms.

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I guess I am in trouble because I embrodered the logo on my son's patch blanket, purchased from the offical scout shop, because the poorly attached iron on logo that the licenced maunfacture put on it and started to fall off as soon as it was handled. Oh, well, so much for making sure that the are quality products.

 

Another strange question..... Are we all in trouble for the trademark stuff on Troop websites????

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Another strange question..... Are we all in trouble for the trademark stuff on Troop websites????

 

I would day no. From what I have read we are allowed to use these logos on web sites as long as we don't alter them.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

A blessed Christmas to all

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"Another thing that will happend that the local screen shop that makes a dozen or two shirts for most of the units in a district will get hammered and wind up going out of business."

 

I don't think this is going to happen--at worst, BSA would tell the units not to do it. BSA isn't going to chase small T-shirt shops for a couple of hundred bucks. No, this is only going to hurt those units who feel honor-bound to observe BSA's policy. (Making your own iron-ons is a good solution--there doesn't seem to be any prohibition of that.)

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"Making your own iron-ons is a good solution--there doesn't seem to be any prohibition of that"

 

Apparently, you still need to get a license waiver. One of the examples was a mom doing embroidery for free.

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I have long been sick and tired of the expansive trademark issues. When some outfit wants to trademark words or phrases, things are getting out of hand to me. A company logo or marketing line I can see, but the list of trademarked terms on the BSA list is over the top. We have troop neckers and t-shirts done occasionally, small private shops, done on a cash basis, amongst friends (Small towns have their benefits). We don't, nor will we ever mess with waivers or permits for a simple BSA logo that is being used in a tasteful manner for items teh scouts themselves will wear. We are quite a ways away from council and I doubt anyone will come around inquiring about a couple dozen tshirts the boys have and if they do, no one will remember where we got them...."the old scoutmaster bought them years ago from some unknown source....now go away."

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We look at it differently. I see the reason to protect the trademarks but don't see the reason behind changing the rules that had been in place for nearly 100 years.

 

Sure, if Trek starts marketing the "Boy Scout Bicycle," go after them but why made life more difficult for the units and the small businesses that they deal with.

 

As for getting made on the sly? Should we? A Scout is obedient, what message are you sending?

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I agree with being obedient, however BSA has so many picky, far reaching, useless, counter productive micromanaging and intrusive rules it gets difficult to run a program and be compliant with all of it. We try to run a good program, keeping boys motivated to stay in scouts and feel a part of the team is a big part of the effort, the benefit gained from some troop tshirts and neckers yields a lot of positive benefits while holding costs down. BSA has it so you can't even stand still without tripping over another rule or guideline, if we can help increase retention, energy and troop and patrol spirit by stepping over this ridiculoous rule than this is one we will continue to step over.

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A few years ago (2000) we had troop neckerchiefs made - black with the 1st Class Symbol and Troop XX underneath. The embroidery/seamtress person said she could fill our order but needed a written permission from us to convince her that the symbol was not copyrighted/trademarked. We asked our local council and they gave approval - no cost involved.

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