They never meant to muscle in — scout’s honor.
Months after the Girl Scouts sued the Boy Scouts for trademark infringement over a rebranding campaign they argue confuses consumers , the Boy Scouts prepared their response: The lawsuit, they say, deserves a meritless badge.
The case is rooted in the Boy Scouts’ 2017 decision to open its Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts program to girls. Its inclusive “Scout Me In” advertising campaign was designed to recruit girls to its ranks.
Bandying terms like “scouts” and “scouting” without mentioning gender left many parents and girls wrongly thinking the Girl Scouts no longer existed or somehow merged with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts contended in its November lawsuit.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America said it has talked about “scouts” and “scouting” in reference to programs that included girls for almost 50 years without any complaint. After all that time, the Girl Scouts were suing “simply because the [Boy Scouts of America have] begun welcoming girls into two more of its youth programs,” the organization said in its filing — adding there was keen interest from girls.
The Boy Scouts said the case boiled down to accusations it was “acting in competitive self-interest to recruit girls,” not intentions to harm the Girl Scouts’ business. The Girl Scouts couldn’t point to one customer lost because of something the Boy Scouts did, the filing said.
Though the Girl Scouts asserted seven claims against the Boy Scouts, the recently-filed dismissal motion only looked to wipe out two claims right now. The Boy Scouts said they were “confident” they could win, but the factual disputes would only be resolved later in the case.
The case is another headache for the 109-year-old organization. It was reported last month that the Boy Scouts were mulling bankruptcy as it coped with slipping membership and costs related to lawsuits alleging the mishandling of sex-abuse accusations.
The recent filing doesn’t discuss the Boy Scout’s internal finances.
The Girl Scouts of the USA emphasized to MarketWatch that the dismissal motion from the Boy Scouts was only a partial one, touching on two of the organization’s seven claims.
“Girl Scouts of the USA remains confident in the validity of the entire complaint and will pursue all of the relief sought,” it said.
A representative for the Boy Scouts declined to comment beyond the papers.
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