Sunday, April 18, 2021

Girl Scouts involved in ‘very damaging’ legal war with Boy Scouts

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Girl Scouts are in a “very damaging” recruiting war with Boy Scouts after Boy Scouts opened up basic services to girls, causing market confusion and some girls unwittingly joining Boy Scouts, say lawyers for the century-old Girl Scouts organization in documents filed in federal court.

The competition, more guesswork than reality two years ago, has intensified as the Boy Scouts of America organization – which insists recruits pledge to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and kind ”- unfairly recruited girls in recent times, according to allegations. in legal briefs filed on behalf of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

Lawyers filed papers in Manhattan federal court on Thursday to stave off a Boy Scout effort to dismiss before trial a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the Girl Scouts in 2018.

Boy Scouts lawyers last month asked a judge to dismiss claims that Boy Scouts cannot use “boy scouts” and “boy scouts” in recruiting girls without infringing on trademarks.

He called the lawsuit “totally baseless”.

Messages asking for comment on the Girl Scouts latest deposit were sent to Boy Scout lawyers on Saturday.

In its brief, the Girl Scouts said that the Boy Scouts’ marketing of expanded services for girls was “extraordinary and very damaging to Girl Scouts” and had sparked an “explosion of confusion”.

“Due to the Boy Scout violation, parents mistakenly enrolled their daughters in Boy Scouts thinking they were Girl Scouts,” the lawyers said, adding that this had never happened before 2018.

Girl Scouts said they can prove that there are “cases of endemic confusion and misleading examples of the association between Girl Scouts and Girl Scouts” after Scouts target girls and their parents with communications from marketing and recruiting in a way never seen before.

“Party programs, which have many similarities, are now directly competitive,” argued the Girls Scouts.

The organization cited evidence from a small subset of documents submitted by 19 of the 250 local Scout Councils, including evidence that registration fees were sometimes returned to parents who mistakenly believed that they were registering girls with the girl scouts.

He said repeated instances of confusion and interference at the local level by Boy Scouts were only a tiny part of what was happening nationwide.

Each of the dozens of times the Girl Scouts have complained about unfair marketing, the Boy Scouts have responded by blaming individuals, churches or others for what they said was an isolated incident, the lawyers said.

“According to the Boy Scouts, the blame for the creeping confusion in the market is at everyone’s feet, but at their own,” they wrote.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, like other large youth organizations, have seen their numbers decline in recent years as competition gained momentum before the pandemic over sports leagues and jobs in the world. busy family time.

In the spring of 2018, the Boy Scouts program for 11-17 year olds announced that it would change its name to BSA Scouts in early 2019. The parent organization, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Cub Scouts, a program serving children from kindergarten to fifth grade have kept their names.

The organization began admitting girls into Cub Scouts in August 2018, and BSA Scouts began accepting girls in February 2019, lawyers said.

Subsequently, Boy Scouts councils and volunteers began using Girl Scout intellectual property to recruit girls, using targeted advertisements using terms such as “Scout, Scouts, Scouting, Scout Me In and Scouts BSA The lawyers wrote.

“The Boy Scouts knew very well in 2017, just as in the 1930s and 1970s, that SCOUT, SCOUTS and SCOUTING, when used in connection with girl’s services, could only form associations with Girl Scouts if other distinctive content referring to the Boy Scouts of America has appeared in advertising and promotional material, ”they said. “But he did anyway, and the only plausible inference is that his motive was to break free from the ‘impeccable’ reputation of Girl Scouts and strengthen his position in a ‘new market – girls in scouting’.

Lawyers said the Illinois Boy Scouts Councils acknowledged improper use of the Girl Scout slogan in Cub recruiting materials and Boy Scout photos to promote a “Boy Scout Registration Night!”

They said a West Massachusetts Boy Scout Council posted a recruiting flyer on Facebook including a photograph of a girl pictured in her Girl Scouts Brownie uniform.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Boy Scouts used the Girl Scouts brand to try to convince a local newspaper to write an article, suggesting a storyline called “Boy and Girl Scouts Looking for Members,” even though the recruiting wasn’t about than the Boy Scouts, the lawyers said.

In Seattle, a Boy Scouts council used the Girl Scouts brand in social media recruiting materials, lawyers said.

They said confusion had skyrocketed among children, parents, schools and religious organizations and cited examples in other states including Florida, Minnesota, Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Hawaii.

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