It is a matter of pride among the young American girls and boys to enrol as "Scouts" and fulfil the duties of vigilant and responsible American citizens. It is the young American Dream to be a part of the Girl Scout USA ("GSUSA") or the Boy Scout America ("BSA"). The Scouts have been bifurcated gender wise since the very inception of the concept- for over a century. They are known for imparting leadership skills and instilling a sense of responsible citizenship amongst their Scouts all over the world.

The GSUSA has registered "GIRL SCOUTS" trademarks while the BSA has registered "BOY SCOUTS" trademark. Thus, even though both GSUSA and BSA use the term SCOUTS as part of their core trademarks, the two Scouts, have always co-existed since they work for girls and boys separately.

However, recently this core gender-wise bifurcation was taken away, when BSA decided to become a gender neutral scout group which would function or both girls as well as boys of all ages for the first time in its long history. Hence the GSUSA filed a trademark infringement suit against BSA, in New York. The bone of contention was the standalone use of the word "Scout" by BSA alone which resulted in dilution of GSUSA's marks.

GSUSA contended that the "GIRL SCOUTS" mark will be both blurred and tarnished as a result of consumers mistakenly associating the 2 organizations. The GSUSA contended that the incorrect and improper association is likely to be and has been harmful to GSUSA's GIRL SCOUTS marks and the organization as a whole, resulting in the impairment in the distinctiveness of the GIRL SCOUTS mark.The suit alleges that a confusion among the names will "marginalize the Girl Scouts Movement" by causing the public to doubt the authenticity of GSUSA. A registration for a trademark in a generic word like "Scout" is unlikely to be granted, competing products are required to be differentiated to avoid confusion.

Compiled by: Adv. Sachi Kapoor | Concept & Edited by: Dr. Mohan Dewan

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