Girl Scouts file suit against Boy Scouts over name change.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM MCEL­ROY

NEW YORK | The Girl Scouts of the United States of Amer­ica has filed a trade­mark in­fringe­ment law­suit against the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica for drop­ping the word “boy” from its flag­ship pro­gram in an ef­fort to at­tract girls.

In the com­plaint filed Tues­day in Man­hat­tan fed­eral court, the Girls Scouts claim the pro­gram “does not have a right un­der ei­ther fed­eral or New York law to use terms like scouts or scout­ing by them­selves in con­nec­tion with ser­vices of­fered to girls, or to re­brand it­self as ‘the Scouts.”

“Such mis­con­duct will not only cause con­fu­sion among the pub­lic, dam­age the good­will of GSUSA’s Girl Scouts trade­marks, and erode its core brand iden­tity, but it will also marginal­ize the Girl Scouts Move­ment by caus­ing the pub­lic to be­lieve that GSUSA’s ex­traor­di­nar­ily suc­cess­ful ser­vices are not true or of­fi­cial ‘Scout­ing’ pro­grams, but niche ser­vices with lim­ited util­ity and ap­peal,” the com­plaint said.

The Girl Scouts is among a num­ber of ma­jor youth or­ga­ni­za­tions in the na­tion see­ing de­clines in mem­ber­ship in re­cent years due to com­pe­ti­tion from sports leagues and busy fam­ily sched­ules.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion ar­gued that only it has “the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trade­mark with lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment ser­vices for girls.”

In a state­ment, the Boy Scouts said it was re­view­ing the law­suit “care­fully.”

“We ap­plaud ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion that builds char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship in chil­dren, in­clud­ing the Girl Scouts of the USA, and be­lieve that there is an op­por­tu­nity for both or­ga­ni­za­tions to serve girls and boys in our com­mu­ni­ties,” the state­ment said.

In May, the Boy Scouts — the pro­gram for 11- to 17-year-olds — an­nounced it would change its name to Scouts BSA in Fe­bru­ary.

The par­ent or­ga­ni­za­tion will re­main the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica, and the Cub Scouts — its pro­gram serv­ing chil­dren from kinder­garten through fifth grade — will keep its ti­tle, as well.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion al­ready has started ad­mit­ting girls into the Cub Scouts, and Scouts BSA be­gins ac­cept­ing girls next year. The Girls Scouts claim it al­ready has been dam­aged by the name change an­nounce­ment, say­ing that “through­out the coun­try, fam­i­lies, schools and com­mu­ni­ties have been told that GSUSA and BSA have merged, or even that GSUSA no longer ex­ists.”

“Par­ents in­ter­ested in sign­ing up for Girl Scouts pro­grams have in­stead mis­tak­enly signed up for the new girls’ pro­grams of­fered by BSA,” the com­plaint said.

The law­suit seeks an in­junc­tion against trade­mark breaches and mon­e­tary dam­ages.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Tthe Girl Scouts of the United States of Amer­ica sued the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica on Mon­day for drop­ping “boy” from its pro­gram.

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