the BSA Bully Badge?


…”So, apparently, the Boy Scouts are trademark bullies. There’s no likelihood of confusion here, and the idea of dilution based on the use of the common word “scouts”? Seems ridiculous.

Except… lawyer Ron Coleman dug into things a bit and discovered that Congress, stunningly, has actually passed a special law just for the Boy Scouts that allows them to be trademark bullies. No joke. It’s 36 USC 30905, which is a part of 36 USC 309, which is a law just for the Boy Scouts of America. In 30905, the Boy Scouts appear to be given full “exclusive right” to “emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or phrases the corporation adopts.” This goes way, way beyond what traditional trademark law allows, and the Boy Scouts appear to be using it to their trademark bullying advantage.

In fact, Coleman cites a case, Wrenn v. BSA from 2008, in which the court flat out said:

BSA need not demonstrate the likelihood of confusion because it has been granted special protection by Congressional charter

So, there you go. Stunningly, and ridiculously, the US government has given the Boy Scouts of America free reign to be obnoxious trademark bullies, threatening and going after anyone who uses “scouts” even if there’s no likelihood of confusion at all. “…


2 thoughts on “the BSA Bully Badge?

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