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Congressional Charter


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#21 NJCubScouter

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:04 AM

For some reason, "Spriral Scouts" seems to still be using the word "Scouts" in its name.  I do not know whether the BSA has ever taken (or threatened) legal action against them.  I find that odd because the BSA seems to be pretty good at getting other groups not to use its trademarks, and not just "Scout" or "Scouting".  I have a vague recollection of one of the newer groups using at least one of the BSA's rank names (maybe Tenderfoot) and the BSA apparently sent a letter and the group changed it pretty quickly.  I do not remember which of the groups it was. I am pretty sure it was discussed in this forum and I did a search but cannot find it.  I did find a discussion from 2008 about whether the BSA can prevent another group from using a words like tenderfoot, troop, wolf, bear etc. in the context of a youth organization, but nothing about a specific group doing so.


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#22 qwazse

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:17 AM

WOSM no longer accepts federations of scouting organizations as members. So the situation that prevails in some counties (e.g. France, Germany, Italy), where mainstream scouting is divided along religious lines, won't be duplicated in the future.

Nothing could po$$ibly change that policy? Not even an attempt to reverse the declining purchases of World Crests?

 

As I said, we are talking about a very unlikely scenario. I don't foresee a boots-on-the-ground insurrection.


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#23 Peregrinator

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:06 PM

I do not know whether the BSA has ever taken (or threatened) legal action against them.  I find that odd because the BSA seems to be pretty good at getting other groups not to use its trademarks, and not just "Scout" or "Scouting".  I have a vague recollection of one of the newer groups using at least one of the BSA's rank names (maybe Tenderfoot) and the BSA apparently sent a letter and the group changed it pretty quickly.  I do not remember which of the groups it was. I am pretty sure it was discussed in this forum and I did a search but cannot find it.  I did find a discussion from 2008 about whether the BSA can prevent another group from using a words like tenderfoot, troop, wolf, bear etc. in the context of a youth organization, but nothing about a specific group doing so.

 

The BSA actually doesn't have a trademark on "scout" ("boy scout" maybe, but not "scout") ... the reason they are able to stop other youth organizations from using the word is because of the congressional charter. I think "scout" is too generic a word to be trademarked, though I'm sure it could be trademarked if it were made into a distinctive logo (IANAL, of course).

 

I believe it was AHG that was using the "Tenderfoot" rank and the BSA stopped them from doing it.


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#24 Peregrinator

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:11 PM

As far as SpiralScouts is concerned, I read somewhere that the BSA had sent them a C&D letter that they ignored. I can't remember now where I read it, but it was around the time of the Hacker Scouts dustup.


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#25 Peregrinator

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:16 PM

Nothing could po$$ibly change that policy? Not even an attempt to reverse the declining purchases of World Crests?

 

As I said, we are talking about a very unlikely scenario. I don't foresee a boots-on-the-ground insurrection.

Oh I'm sure the policy could change for the right rea$on$! But yes, unlikely because groups that are not WOSM member associations are not WOSM member associations for a reason. It could be because of the membership changes to WOSM associations over the years, or it could be because of other concerns - wanting to have a traditional scouting program rather than a modern one, for example.


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#26 Stosh

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:43 PM

The BSA was represented by Charles Evans Hughes, former Governor of New York and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Testimony included an affidavit from Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the international Scout Movement, on the origins of the Scout Movement.[20]:581 In 1919, the New York Supreme Court, a trial court, granted the BSA an injunction and the USBS was barred from using the terms "Boy Scout", "Scout", "Scouting", or any variation thereof.[21][22][23]

 

Then of course the argument can be made that these "break away" organizations do not want to be associated with scouting and will make it clear that their program is an alternative it is not scouting.  They take a more woodland/outdoors name rather than the militant Scouting.  Navigators, Royal Rangers, Pioneers, Trail Life USA, Adventurers, Frontiersmen, Pathfinders, and Awana to mention just a few.

 

Of course there's other youth organizations that are often associated with scouting identified as the FFA and 4-H.

 

As I drive into town every day there's a full-sized bill board that catches all traffic coming in that says Boys & Gilrs Club  a program for Character and Leadership Development.  The Family "Y" is a biggie here too with huge signs all over it's massive new expansion.  Boy's and Gilr's Club are just now landscaping around the huge addition they put on their building as well.  And the BSA Council office?  Hasn't changed for 40 years, but they did paint is just recently with some cheap gaudy green paint. 

 

When the BSA gave up it's foothold on Character and Leadership development, they passed the torch to a lot of other organizations out there that have done well in attracting the youth of the nation.

 

BSA is in competition with all of these programs


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#27 CalicoPenn

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 01:01 PM

As far as SpiralScouts is concerned, I read somewhere that the BSA had sent them a C&D letter that they ignored. I can't remember now where I read it, but it was around the time of the Hacker Scouts dustup.

 

The SpiralScouts apparently did respond to the Boy Scouts of America and the BSA never responded. 

 

The word Scout does apparently have trademark protection despite it's generic-ness, based on Wrenn vs. Boys Scouts of America

 

I'm guessing - and this is only a guess - that the BSA might have backed off because the SpiralScouts is a mission of a specific church and not an association of churches so there might be some 1st Amendment issues at play that the BSA didn't want to get entangled with.  


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#28 Peregrinator

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 01:20 PM

The word Scout does apparently have trademark protection despite it's generic-ness, based on Wrenn vs. Boys Scouts of America

 

It has something like trademark protection but it is not actually trademarked.


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#29 EmberMike

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 03:48 PM

The BPSA was originally the Baden-Powell Scout Association, until the BSA stepped in. They changed "Scout" to "Service" in the name. But they do still use the terms "scout" and "scouting" in their program. 

 

I think as long as it's not in the name, it's allowed. 


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#30 NJCubScouter

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 05:38 PM

Wrenn v. BSA:

 

https://casetext.com...outs-of-america

 

Very interesting.  I had never read it before.  The judge says he is specifically NOT deciding whether the BSA has a protectable interest in the word "Scout(s)".  He says that several times.  He says he is only deciding that "YOUTHSCOUTS" infringes on the Boy Scouts' rights under both trademark law and the Congressional Charter.  Now, you might well ask, how can "YOUTHSCOUTS" infringe on "Boy Scouts" UNLESS the BSA has a protectable interest in the word "Scouts".  And well you might.  I am not sure that this decision really answers that question.  But I am not sure it matters; either way, if you have a youth group with the word "Scouts" in the name, and the BSA sues you, in all likelihood you are going to lose.  

 

As for the BSA not suing Spiral Scouts, I have my theories about why that occurred, but it also seems to me that the BSA has weakened its case for the next time it sues someone in a similar situation.  One of their arguments has always been that they aggressively protect their rights under trademark and the Congressional Charter, and that time they didn't.  (This does not constitute legal advice, etc. etc.)


Edited by NJCubScouter, 02 March 2017 - 05:39 PM.

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#31 Peregrinator

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 01:14 PM

The SpiralScouts apparently did respond to the Boy Scouts of America and the BSA never responded. 

 

Right you are, at least according to this article:

http://www.metrotime...ent?oid=2183622

 

"When asked if Spiral Scouts has ever been formally contacted by the Boy Scouts of America, Callahan reports that the organization received a letter, accompanied by a cease-and-desist order that stated that the word “scouts” was trademarked at a federal level. She says a response from the Spiral Scouts’ attorney followed, and no further interaction between the two groups has occurred. At press time, the Boys Scouts had not returned Metro Times’ phone calls."


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#32 NJCubScouter

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 03:49 PM

...accompanied by a cease-and-desist order that stated that the word “scouts” was trademarked at a federal level. She says a response from the Spiral Scouts’ attorney followed, and no further interaction between the two groups has occurred. 

 

There has to be more (or less) to this story than this.  If by "order" is meant a court order (which is what it usually means), then it means the BSA did sue SpiralScouts.  If that is true, the rest of what is quoted above would mean that, after having filed a lawsuit, asked a judge to issue an order, received the order, served it on the defendant (SpiralScouts, that is), the BSA (or its attorney) got a letter from SpiralScouts attorney and then decided to forget about the whole thing.  Unless the enclosure to that letter was a check in an agreed-upon amount, things just don't work that way.  (And I doubt that is what happened.)  And even if the BSA did decide to forget the whole thing, there still would have had to be some "interaction" between their attorneys.  You don't just leave a pending court case sitting there without getting it wrapped up (to use a non-legal term) in some way.  


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#33 Peregrinator

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 07:29 AM

I'm sure it was just a cease-and-desist letter and no actual court order was involved. But you're right that it's weird that there doesn't seem to be any follow-up. There are more recent examples of the BSA vigorously defending their "trademarks" (Hacker Scouts, Scouts of St. George).
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