The Girl Scouts of the United States of America is suing the Boy Scouts of America for trademark infringement after the organization dropped the word “boy” from its name in an effort to attract girls.
The Boy Scouts changed their name to “Scouts BSA” this year to accommodate girls into the program.
The Girl Scouts argued in their claim filed Tuesday that only it has “the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademark with leadership development services for girls.”
They add that Boy Scouts “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 group said parents “throughout the country, families, schools and communities have been told that GSUSA and BSA have merged, or even that GSUSA no longer exists.”
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.
After making the decision to include girls in its program this May, Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said it was an effort to become more inclusive.
“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” he said. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”
Many families opposed the Scouts’ decision and a new faith-based scouting group was formed called Trail Life USA.
The group said the Boy Scouts of America has “completely lost their way in the woods of co-ed political correctness.”
“(Boys) are losing out and not developing as strong, capable men because we are not letting them be fully boys,” Trail Life USA CEO Mark Hancock says, citing recent headlines about boys struggling in America. “Weakened expectations and participation trophies have led to our culture producing unproductive narcissists.”