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BSA Trademark symbol use

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Tonight I was told that the use of the BSA trademark fleur-d-lis (the BSA Logo) will be VERY ridgedly controlled and restricted by National beginning immediately. Not only will the restrictions be applied to local units, but also to Councils use of the logo. For instance, camp literature will have to be approved by National, AND we will have to pay a licensing fee, AND we will have to pay royalties for each copy we print.


Everything will have to be approved by National with a 90 days allowed for the approval process before it can go to the printer. Printing can only be done by the National Supply Division or their licensee. Again, licensing fees and royalties will have to paid to National on every piece of literature, clothing, and anything else that we might want to put the logo on.


I am sure that there is some exaggeration in the report that I got, but I would also think that is a great deal of truth in .


Does anyone know anything about this? Does anyone know what may have spawned this level of micro management.

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If this is the case why does national make this available?


with this comment;

"For your convenience, the following trademarks and signatures files are Macintosh- and PC-compatible. Each file is provided in black-and-white and color versions in both Macintosh and PC formats. This variety of versions and formats will enable you to import the graphics into electronic documents or provide them to vendors producing your support materials."

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I would really like to see this one in writing- this just does not sound right.


Protecting copyrights is perfectly fine, but requiring payments for use within the program is rather draconian. Requiring a 90 day approval for literature really would put a crimp in newsletters for units and councils. I have yet to see any literature on any event in any council be published in final form in that time-frame.


If they start requiring that literature pay royalties on the use of the universal emblem (the fleur-de-lis with the eagle, shield, and two five-pointed stars) and other logos, then I suspect there will be some backlash. My first response would be to not include any emblem in literature or to use a generic fleur-de-lis or some such.


This sounds similar to the policy the GSUSA had at one time on the use of the trefoil and other logos- they seem to have dropped that.


How would this affect the use of such emblems and logos on websites?


I really have to think there is a mis-communication here.



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This is what I was saying in my thread copyright rules about the venuring logo I'm willing to bet this has to do with the truck commercal that has been talked about before and while no BSA logos were used in the commercal they did come very close to stepping on BSA toes with the picture of the boy in uniform. I'm betting soon all Scouters will have a problem with trademarks

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I'm all for protecting intellectual property rights, and trademark symbols. But this, because they have imposed it at the Council level, seems to be obstructive, and abusive.


If local councils can't freely use the logo, then who is the logo there for? Think about it for a minute, aside from uniforms, training materials, and CS/BS handbooks where do you see the logo. The only ones who see it on the uniform, on training material and in the handbooks are registered members. This is one heck of a way to enhance program recognition!!!!!!! Why don't they just stop using the name Boy Scouts of America, and call it something...anything else, and have that title be different from town to town across America?


If they found someone misusing the trademark symbol of BSA then they should go after them. But to lock it up in safe, as if it were a sacred item.....then charge the member Councils for its use is absolutely absurd.


I hope the story I got was misrepresented, and like some here have said, that there is more to this story.

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sorry fotoscout but this story is very true I don't know why but we are going to need to pay for this stuff and wait for national to approve our request (I wouldn't hold my breath on the 90 days)The best bet would be to plan on twice that because we all know the wheels turn very slow in this org.

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Seems to me as long as the link scottteng posted is still active, the BSA would have a hard time bringing a case against anyone who used any of the posted logos in accordance with the provisions of the website and the images were used within the context of a BSA program. I would hate to see the national BSA office go after a local council for unauthorized use of a BSA logo. I could see the entire organization unravelling.


Now if I was trying to sell cars, trucks or hamburgers with any of those images I could see where I might have a problem.



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While such a policy from National wouldn't surprise me, I doubt that it's true. Looking at the link that scotteng posted, most of the logos and badges have the little "registered trademark" symbol. The exception is the "Scout" badge, which is just a generic FDL. Since the plain FDL is in common use, it probably is not trademarkable. Usually, in these cases, it is acceptable to use trademarks exactly as they are provided to us, without alteration. There are many examples of unauthorized use, one of which being the red nylon jacket that my friend ordered from eBay. It has the full color embroidered FDL with eagle (close but not identical to the official one), and our names and troop #. Someone is selling these as a business (though I doubt they make much profit), but since it doesn't come from the BSA catalog, is probably illegal.


So my interpretation is for local use, use the trademarks exactly as designed, include the RT mark, and don't make a profit from its use. If they're still not happy with that, they can have my sincere apology attached to my resignation.


PS: I'm not a lawyer...just a "reasonable man" acting in good faith.

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I understand that this is a clarification of mark use based on ongoing infringment by manufacturers who make a product for one council, then advertise and try to sell to other councils; as well as issues with web infringments (pay-per-click, porn, etc.), product liability concerns, and overall protection of the marks.


Nattional provided a memo to council SEs, Regional staff and others in mid-October. I also understand that a FAQ-sort of document was issued last week to the same people that answers a number of questions that were raised and provides further clarification on what has to be licensed (I heard that literature, forms, brochures, websites, etc that are administrative are exempt from licensing). I also have heard that some councils have already developed policies for this, East Carolina Council, for one.


I also heard that the scouting.org/identity site is undergoing some changes. Don't know what yet.


Finally, I've also heard the 90-day thing, but I understand that's a worse-case for the application. They're protecting against an onslaught of applications. They realistically think it will be less time. This is for applications, not approvals. One current licensee told me that approvals for licesees generally happen with 24 hours and often times the same day. I think that's a pretty good turn around time.


I'd encourage you all to check with your SE, as I did mine. They should have the coorespondance mentioned above.


Given that BSA's congressional charter grants it exlusive rights to its marks, words and phrases (" The corporation has the exclusive right to use emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or phrases the corporation adopts."), I'd think they would claim that any mark that associated with Scouting activity in the U.S. would be covered. This would include the generic fleur-de-lis.


I don't have a problem with the protection of trademark rights. I don't think, as some have claimed, that this is bad news for scouting councils or units. It'll be hard in the short-term, but I think the programs and organizations will benefit in the long haul. It probably should have been addressed years ago...then we would have websites like boyslife.com.


My two cents on the topic.

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It appears that my information is correct. Over the weekend one of our Senior DE's confirmed it.


So if you're a fledgling pack, or a troop of 100 boys, or even a Council, watch out...big brother is now watching you! The story is that they are trolling to make an example of someone.


I can't imagine how this could be good for anyone. More lead time for anything we do, more cost for anything we print or have made. This takes advantage of the two things we all have in excess supply; time and money! Yeah!

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