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[rec.scouting.issues] Commonly asked questions (FAQ 2)
Section - Is the word Scout or Scouts Copyrighted or Trademarked?

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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Date:   23 Dec 1998

The BSA "owns" the names "Boy Scouts of America", "Scout", "Boy
Scouting",
and
"Scouting", as used within the United States.     This is granted by
a FEDERAL CHARTER from our Congress, and
under this charter, the Government of the United States granted the
organization called corporately "Boy Scouts of America" the sole and
exclusive right to have and to use, in carrying out its purposes,
all emblems and badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words
or phrases now or heretofore used by the Boy Scouts of America in
carrying
out
its program.

The GSUSA also holds a federal charter on its title.

According to a House of Representatives report accompanying the
Bill incorporating the Boy Scouts:
"If any boy can secure these badges without meeting the required
test the badges will soon be meaningless and one of the leading
features of the Scout program will be lost. Likewise with the
uniform which designates the Scout. At the present time this is
protected by the use of insignia - a seal woven or stamped into
the cloth. All of these various badges and insignia are at
present protected by the patent laws but under the patent laws
such protection is available for a limited period only. The
passing by Congress of this bill will, it is believed, provide the
organization with protection for its distinctive insignia, the
integrity of which is essential to the maintenance of the
movement, and protect it from those who are seeking to profit by
the good repute and high standing and popularity of the Scout
movement by imitating it in name alone."

Both BSA and GSUSA have a large number of registered
trademarks for different aspects of the Scouting program. All printed
material, such as the Handbook, is protected by copyright.

The Congress has also granted federal charters to:

*The American Red Cross (which keeps other organizations and programs
from
using "Red Cross" and the emblematic red cross; the BSA was caught in
this
and
when the ARC threatened to sue the BSA over this, the BSA changed their
First
Aid Merit badge to a GREEN CROSS with a RED background.   This is also
why
the
Safety Merit Badge has a WHITE CROSS (instead of "Green Cross for
Safety{tm}",
which is a registered trademark of the National Safety Council) with a
GREEN
background)

*The American Legion (which has trademarked the word "Legionnaire" as
used
in
the United States, to refer to members of their organization; of course,
those
everywhere in the world using the word "Legionnaire" may be referring to
the
French Foreign Legion or to the American Legion or several other
"legions".)

The federal charter is little more than a trademark law.   Most
organizations
hold trademarks and
to do so, they get laws passed on either the State or Federal level.
Some
of these organizations
discriminate in religious afiliation or gender.

Other congressional charters have gone to:
The Girl Scouts
Future Farmers of America
The Red Cross
Pershing Hall Memorial Fund
The Foundation of the Federal Bar Association
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Big Brothers - Big Sisters of America
Jewish War Veterans, U.S.A., National Memorial, Inc.
Blue Star Mothers of America
National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the
         Republic
Little League Baseball, Inc.
Gold Star Wives of America
National Society, Daughters of the American Colonists
General Federation of Women's Clubs

and many more...

The Federal Charter can be found at:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/36/ch2.html


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Top Document: [rec.scouting.issues] Commonly asked questions (FAQ 2)
Previous Document: Where can I find a copy of the BSA and GSUSA Congressional
Next Document: What is the WOSM position on God and Religion in Scouting?

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