Jump to content
69RoadRunner

Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

Recommended Posts

@NJCubScouter

Would be interested in your take.

It seems like they believe BSA will win the big battle (the name Scouts BSA) but GSUSA may see some wins in damages (but they would have to prove them and these two expect they will be minimal).  They called the BSA response “brilliant”, taking the high road and clarifying the brand do and don’ts.  

After listening to them I question several of GSUSA’s examples as they are not strong indicators of Trademark infringement (for example the quote from Juliette is no longer copyrighted due to age of the quote).  

Overall interesting take that seems to think that BSA has a strong case.  That would make sense as I expect BSA lawyers were part of the name selection.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle1993, I want to read the complaint, which I have printed out, before commenting.  My daughter and grandson who live in Washington State are here for a week-long visit so I am kind of giving that my priority at the moment, other than work of course.  :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 4:16 PM, Treflienne said:

GSUSA does not want BSA to call the BSA girls "SCOUTS"

Ya, I get that. Don't really care though. They can sue me. ;)

 

I will await my Cease and Desist.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Ya, I get that. Don't really care though. They can sue me. ;)

 

I will await my Cease and Desist.

Maybe there will be a patch...

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1 hour video above, by a Trademark attorney and a patent attorney seems to make clear the only thing GSUSA can enforce is the use of the term “Girl Scouts”  or very similar “girl scout” or “girl ... scout”.     They seem to indicate that scout is a generic term and no organization has the right to reserve a market for that term.  There is no way to protect a market (for example, Apple cannot use Trademark laws to prevent other PC sellers to sell “computers” to girls). Just as GSUSA cannot use Trademark law to prevent BSA from selling scouting services to girls.  They can be called scouts, just not “Girl Scouts”.

In terms of the examples given, those that contain the word Girl Scout/s will be an issue and there could be some damages; however, they would have to prove the specific damages in those cases.  In addition, the example of Juliette quote is not actionable (not a trademark and past Copyright age) and the Girl Scout mission (not trademark could be copyright) is minimally actionable.   

They saw no way for Girl Scouts to block Scouts BSA or Scout Life Trademarks.  In addition they raved about  BSA actions to date and claimed they are great in terms of legal impact.  The damages should be minimal (they mentioned could be as low as $1).  

The video is long but informative.  At one point they even looked at who (name of lawyer) wrote the complaint as they were surprised at some inconsistencies.  One of the lawyers mentioned he was an Eagle Scout and loves the BSA so is biased.   Will be interesting to have other lawyers input.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

... They saw no way for Girl Scouts to block Scouts BSA or Scout Life Trademarks.  In addition they raved about  BSA actions to date and claimed they are great in terms of legal impact.  The damages should be minimal (they mentioned could be as low as $1).  

The video is long but informative.  ...

The video reminded me of how hard it is for me to keep from nodding off when my lawyer friends get thick into conversations about cases. :sleep:

At the end of the day, it's not about cost ... nor about optics of the CSE's focused rebuttal. It's about how we as an organization can be courteous and kind. Mamma brought me up to defer to the ladies. That meant, among other things, to not merely cease from harm, to give honor and support. If GS/USA is convinced it would be helped by BSA not simplifying their brand to "Scouts" or "Scouting", BSA should help them at all times.

We could return to last year's brand and the nations girls would flock to it probably in the same numbers. Or, we could focus on some other aspect of our methods that has made BSA troops so appealing. The possibilities are endless:

Patrols of America, Patrol Life, Patrolling

Advancement Scouts of America

Outdoor Scouts of America

Ideals Scouts, USA

Green Bar Scouts of America

We All Can Win Scouts of America

In fact, I would be willing to give GS/USA a list of options that we'd be happy to sail under, ask them to survey their membership and let their Moms an Girls pick the name that best reflects who they think we are.

Meanwhile, we focus on working for smiles. That's what we do.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Mamma brought me up to defer to the ladies. 

I also think the opinion of the ladies who join BSA would also be included in the equation, perhaps girl members of Venturing would have been a great group to ask.

I don’t believe GSUSA should have the only and final input.  They have made it clear they want nothing to do with BSA going forward.  I’m sure their answer would be Backstabbing Scouts of America.  I hope that is repaired long term but I don’t see a name conversation happening short term as it would appear that they are approving of this change.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, qwazse said:

We could return to last year's brand ...

 

As someone that opposed any name change, that ship has already sailed. We can't go back short of a court order forcing us to. To go back while under a pending law suit would open us up to any potentially frivolous lawsuit that anyone else could consider. Certainly would not feel brave if we buckled under this little bit of pressure.

There is no going back while under threat. This is the hill we die on. Certainly GSUSA and BSA could have held these sort of discussions privately (and they may have) but now it is too late to try and find some negotiated new name change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

To go back while under a pending law suit would open us up to any potentially frivolous lawsuit that anyone else could consider. Certainly would not feel brave if we buckled under this little bit of pressure.

The BSA has buckled under any little bit of pressure since Dale.  They may find a backbone now but I wouldn't count on it.

30 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

There is no going back while under threat. This is the hill we die on. 

MadMagazine-WhatYouMeanWe.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Oldscout448 said:

In my familys case having spent decades in both BSA and GSUSA, this feels like watching your parents fight it out in divorce court.

I'm pretty sure GS/USA is not earning any points with its moms who thoroughly enjoy working with scouts of all stripes.

3 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

As someone that opposed any name change, that ship has already sailed. We can't go back short of a court order forcing us to. To go back while under a pending law suit would open us up to any potentially frivolous lawsuit that anyone else could consider. Certainly would not feel brave if we buckled under this little bit of pressure.

There is no going back while under threat. This is the hill we die on. Certainly GSUSA and BSA could have held these sort of discussions privately (and they may have) but now it is too late to try and find some negotiated new name change.

We should not care about feeling brave. Any fool can do that just by going to the theater and cheering for the protagonist.

I define brave as doing the right thing. Period. Threatened or not. Digging in heels is it's own kind of cowardice.

It's a quite simple line that helped many of us preserve our marriages. "You were right. I was wrong. I don't want to be the enemy here."

I've come to learn that meekness is the bravest act, and it's never too late to resolve to uplift one another.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "Scouts BSA" name isn't the problem. Or, in my opinion, I don't think the courts will rule that it's a problem. There's a long precedent of the BSA using the term "Scouts" in isolation, and GSUSA doing the same. I don't think GSUSA can win the argument that the BSA shouldn't be allowed to use the term "Scouts" in marketing directed at girls. That just seems like a majorly flawed position.

What they do have a leg to stand on, though, is the local confusion in terminology, poorly-worded flyers and marketing materials, etc. Which is why we're now seeing that helpful infographic being circulated explaining how and how not to refer to BSA programs, to not refer to GSUSA, etc. That's probably something the BSA should have gotten ahead of sooner, one of the many problems that cropped up in pushing out these program changes so quickly without sharing enough information with local units well-ahead of those changes.

What will be interesting to me is related to my earlier comment about whether or not the BSA would be held liable for what local units were doing, erroneously putting out flyers that read "girl scouts" or "girl scout troops".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, FireStone said:

... Which is why we're now seeing that helpful infographic being circulated explaining how and how not to refer to BSA programs, to not refer to GSUSA, etc. That's probably something the BSA should have gotten ahead of sooner, one of the many problems that cropped up in pushing out these program changes so quickly without sharing enough information with local units well-ahead of those changes.

What will be interesting to me is related to my earlier comment about whether or not the BSA would be held liable for what local units were doing, erroneously putting out flyers that read "girl scouts" or "girl scout troops".

That info-graphic, or a memorandum to that effect, had been circulated widely.

BSA is liable. But typically, this is a matter of sending a "Cease and Desist" letter, then getting a written apology from the organization confirming that the members at fault were corrected.

That memorandum, as well as any correspondence regarding requests to cease and desist were conveniently omitted from GS/USA's evidence in the suit. GS/USA is arguing that it would be impossible for BSA to avoid brand confusion. It's not in their interest to acknowledge any steps BSA made in correcting its members' errant use of protected trademarks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×