Trademark News & Screw-ups Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts over trademark as boys welcome girls

This one may get really nasty. So for over a century, the two organization coexisted sharing the word Scouts in their name because one was Boy Scouts and the other one was Girl Scouts. There was no overlap in the target audience for these organizations. Girls could not join Boy Scouts and boys were not lining up to join Girl Scouts. Everything made sense. If anything, "Boy" and "Girl" in respectively "Boy Scouts" and "Girl Scouts" described the actual trademark, "Scouts" that was shared between two separate entities. When Boy Scouts caved into the gender mob hysteria and decided to allow girls into its ranks, many saw this as a sign of the demise of what used to be a cultural icon organization. Few saw the trademark law consequences that flowed from that decision. Girl Scouts' complaint essentially says, "What you're actually doing is making us irrelevant by now targeting everyone and not just boys, and we are not gonna take it." Interestingly, from the Trademark law perspective, Girl Scouts not only have a Federal trademark registration (actually they have 176 applications), they have over a century of common-law use to back them up. While "Boy Scouts" and "Girl Scouts" could coexist as trademarks, we have a problem with "Scouts" and "Girl Scouts." But, once again, behind the scenes, this is not just a matter of trademark coexistence or infringement, it's a matter of survival of one (or both) organizations. As I said, this one may get really nasty.

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