Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts over plans to use term 'scouts' for girl troops

Mark Abrams
November 07, 2018 - 4:00 am
Mario Perez, right, Scout Executive and CEO for the Boy Scouts of America Yucca Council, checks the placement of popcorn on a wagon with scouts Monday at El Paso City Hall on Aug. 6, 2018.

© Rudy Gutierrez/El Paso Times


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What's in a name?

If you ask the Girl Scouts, they'd probably say a lot — so much so that the 106-year-old organization has sued the Boy Scouts of America in federal court over the use of the term "scouts."

The seeds for this trademark war were planted a year ago when the Boy Scouts announced it would open its membership to girls.

Elementary-age girls were allowed to put on Cub Scout uniforms and take part in activities this past summer.

Pre-teen and teenage girls can begin joining the Boy Scouts program in February 2019, when the organization will adjust the Boy Scouts program name to "Scouts, BSA."

In a suit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the Girl Scouts of the USA organization argued they own the trademark of "Girl Scouts" and "Scouts" and are seeking a permanent injunction to stop the Boy Scouts from using the term "Scouts."

Girl Scout officials said in the court filing that the rebranding of the Boy Scouts' name will "marginalize" the female organization and "erode its core brand identity."

"Throughout the country, families, schools and communities have been told that GSUSA and BSA have merged, or even that GSUSA no longer exists," read the complaint filed in federal court Tuesday. "Parents interested in signing up for Girl Scouts programs have instead mistakenly signed up for the new girls’ programs offered by BSA."

In a statement, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, says the organization is reviewing the suit.