The Girl Scouts of the USA recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, as the latter organization is three months shy of dropping “Boy” from its namesake program and welcoming girls to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
North Laurel/Savage column talks about Cub Scout Pack 602
By Christina Hyder
Oct 26, 2018 at 2:00 PM
The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 6 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The organization’s name, Boy Scouts of America, is not changing.
Instead, beginning in February, the Boy Scouts program will change to Scouts BSAto allow boys and girlsages 11 to 17 to join single-gender troops and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout, according to its website.
Currently, girls are allowed to join Cub Scouts but cannot advance into Boy Scouts.
According to the complaint, “BSA does not have the right under federal or New York law to use terms like SCOUTS or SCOUTING by themselves in connection with services offered to girls, or to rebrand themselves as ‘the Scouts…’”
In the complaint, Girls Scouts of the USA states it only has “the right to use GIRLS SCOUTS and SCOUTS trademarks with leadership development services for girls.”
The Girl Scouts of the USA said it's imperative that the court take action “in order to prevent further damage to GSUSA’s trademark and preserve their goodwill,” according to the complaint.
In a statement, the Girl Scouts of the USA said “the actions Girl Scouts took are in keeping with standard practice in any field, and we did what any brand, company, corporation, or organization would do to protect its intellectual property, the value of its brand in the marketplace, and to defend its good name.”
The Girls Scouts of the USA did not comment further, citing pending litigation.
The Boy Scouts of America are reviewing the lawsuit “carefully.”
“Our decision to expand our program offerings for girls came after years of requests from families who wanted the option of the BSA’s character- and leadership-development programs for their children – boys and girls,” the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. “We believe that we owe it to our current and future members to offer families the options they want.”
Violet M. Apple, the CEO of The Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, said in a statement, “[W]hile we don’t in any way want to dictate what is best for families, what we do know is that Girl Scouts is filled with female leaders and role models that young girls can look up to and aspire to be.
“These interaction[s] shorten the gap between what they aspire to be by showing girls what women, who once were girls like them, can achieve,” Apple said.
The Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, established in 1962, serves 24,000 girls between 2,000 troops in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties, according to its website.
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has more than 2.4 million active youth participants and nearly one million adult volunteers, according to its website. Since its inception, more than 110 million Americans have been part of Boy Scouts programs.
In the past five years, the Boy Scouts of America has undergone several changes, such as accepting openly gay and transgender youths and gay Scout leaders into the organization.
The Boy Scouts of America said “there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve youth in our communities.”
Pack 602 in the Laurel area has 24 Scouts, 14 boys and 10 girls, and meets at Emmanuel United Methodist Church on Scaggsville Road.
Children in kindergarten through fifth grade can participate in Pack 602. They join Boy Scouts at ages 11 to 17.
The pack was officially chartered in July, after breaking off of another pack to become a Family Scouting pack, according to Leader Lonnie Woodward.
“When Family Scouting came about, many people from the pack wanted an option to offer it for girls,” Woodward said.
Pack 620 was ““chartered for the express purpose of exploring the Cub Scouts Family Scouting program, providing children of all genders with the opportunity to learn and grow through the unique experiences that Cub Scouts provides,” according to its website.
The move to Family Scouting received more encouragement and support than Woodward expected.
“We wanted to stand up and say ‘We welcome all kids, we don’t discriminate. We welcome all kids regardless of gender and sexuality,’” Woodward said.