According to the Boy Scouts, the right to the word “scout” in their business name was given to them by a federal law back in 1916. That law established the Boy Scouts by means of a federal charter and included the “exclusive right to use emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or phrases” the Boy Scouts wishes to use.
Hacker Scouts, which is based out of Oakland, California, may soon be facing a lawsuit by the Boy Scouts for infringing on its trademark. Hacker Scouts is another youth organization, but mainly focuses on engineering, science and technology education.
The Boy Scouts have not filed a lawsuit as of yet, but have sent a letter to Hacker Scouts telling them to stop using the word “scouts” in their name because it is a violation of trademark law. The executive director and founder of Hacker Scouts disagrees.
According to the director, Hacker Scouts has attempted to resolve the dispute, but now says the Boy Scouts have no intention of backing away from their litigation threat. She maintains that the youth organization did not model any part of their program after the Boy Scouts. In addition, she said the organization doesn’t have ranks or have their participants earn badges in the same manner as the Boy Scouts.
Some legal experts believe that Hacker Scout could have problems with this business law issue, though, if the Boy Scouts do file suit. It would depend on how the public perceives the name and whether the organization is part of or sponsored by the Boy Scouts.
In a statement issued by the Boy Scouts, the organization maintains it is only trying to protect its trademark and its brand.
mercurynews.com, “Boy Scouts threaten to sue Oakland-based Hacker Scouts over its name” Paul T. Rosynsky, Aug. 23, 2013