Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts Settle Trademark Dispute Over Co-Ed Scouting

Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts Settle Trademark Dispute Over Co-Ed Scouting

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The Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts have settled their dispute over the Boy Scouts’ right to use the word “scouting” to advertise co-ed programs, according to a filing in Delaware bankruptcy court on Friday.

The settlement ends a Girl Scouts’ lawsuit that the Boy Scouts had characterized as a “ground war” to counter its entry into girls’ scouting. The Boy Scouts organization prevailed in the trademark dispute in April, when a federal court in New York ruled that the Boy Scouts’ use of word scouting did not violate the Girl Scouts’ trademarks.

The Girl Scouts agreed to drop its appeal of the April ruling as part of the settlement, and both sides agreed to drop related trademark proceedings in other courts and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. They also agreed to cooperate on the commercial terms of scouting trademarks in the future, according to the court filing.

The settlement did not include any payment by either side.

The Boy Scouts announced in 2017 that it would allow girls to join and later began an ad campaign for co-ed scouting called “Scout Me In.” It changed the name of its main scouting program to “Scouts BSA” and officially started welcoming girls in 2019.

The Girl Scouts sued in 2018, saying the Boy Scouts’ use of “Scouts” and “Scouting” to market to girls violates its trademarks. It said the rebrand created confusion and threatened to marginalize the group.

Both organizations have lost significant membership in recent years, and the Boy Scouts is trying to finalize a proposed $2.7 billion settlement of thousands of sex abuse claims in bankruptcy court. The Boy Scouts’ proposed reorganization has been awaiting a judge’s decision since the conclusion of a month-long trial on April 14.


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