Boy Scouts ‘Tentatively’ Beat Girl Scouts in Trademark Case
(Bloomberg) -- A federal judge said he’s likely to rule for the now-coed Boy Scouts of America in a trademark lawsuit brought by the Girl Scouts.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Wednesday told lawyers his “tentative” decision was to throw out the 2018 suit by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, who alleged the Boy Scouts’ use of the terms “scout” and “scouting” in recruitment ads aimed at girls would confuse the public.
The judge said the Girl Scouts can’t prove those claims and suggested the suit was filed only to hamper the Boy Scouts’ push to recruit girls.
“‘Girl Scouts’ is a brand. ‘Boy Scouts’ is a brand,” Hellerstein told the Girl Scouts’ lawyer, Bruce Ewing, in a hearing in Manhattan. “But ‘scouting’ describes an activity.”
The judge didn’t say when he’ll issue a formal ruling in the case.
Girl Scouts spokesman Stewart Goodbody said in a statement that the organization wouldn’t comment on the case before such a ruling was issued. But he said the Girl Scouts will defend their trademarks against the “unethical marketing tactics by Boy Scouts that are intended to confuse and mislead families.”
The Boy Scouts, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year to limit its exposure to sex-abuse claims, said in court papers that the trademark suit is part of the Girl Scouts’ “ground war” against it in the new competition to recruit girls.
The case is Girl Scouts of the United States of America v. Boy Scouts of America, 18-cv-10287, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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