Girl Scouts Lose Trademark Lawsuit Over Boy Scouts Marketing

A federal judge ruled that the Boy Scouts of America didn’t infringe on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s trademarks, saying the girls-only group failed to show any confusion from the Boy Scouts’ efforts to recruit girls into coed programming. Judge Alvin Hellerstein with the U.S. District Court of New York dismissed the Girl Scouts’ lawsuit alleging the Boy Scouts had damaged the Girl Scouts trademark rights and confused the public by using gender-neutral phrases like “Scout Me In.”

Judge Hellerstein said in his ruling the Girl Scouts’ complaint “is based, not on concern for trademark confusion, but on fear for their competitive position in a market with gender neutral options for scouting.” “Though Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts may now compete more than they once did, neither organization can pre-empt the other’s use of the Scout terms and their trademarks are not likely to be confused,” the judge said. The Girl Scouts said that it was disappointed by the judge’s ruling and that it planned to file an appeal. “This case is about ensuring that parents are not misled into thinking that Girl Scouts are part of or the same as the Boy Scouts,” the group said in a statement.

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