Protecting the Brand

BSA has the sole and exclusive right to use its proprietary marks, but a failure to regulate the use of these marks by third parties may result in their passing into the public domain and out of BSA control. The protection and enforcement of BSA trademarks and the BSA brand requires centralization to know which uses of the marks and brand are infringements, and which have been properly authorized and are consistent with the values, purposes and Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America.

As a trademark owner, the Boy Scouts of America is obligated to protect against unauthorized or potentially confusing uses of its trademarks and therefore carefully manages their commercial use. No one can use the BSA’s marks for a commercial purpose without the express written permission of BSA National Council. A local council may not use the BSA’s marks for commercial purposes; nor may a council, unit, member or volunteer grant such rights, either actual or implied, to any third party.

Boy Scouts of America National Council groups, teams, departments, and service areas as well as local councils, are responsible to adhering to these same requirements and standards for product purchases and must use either Supply Group or an Official Licensee. Supply Group, which is specifically charged with serving as the designated product supplier for Boy Scouts of America, holds its vendors to a review process very similar to that of licensees.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, symbol, design, combination word and design, slogan, or distinctive sound that identifies and distinguishes the products or services of one party from those of another. A trademark identifies the source of a product or service and represents that certain quality standards are inherent in the product or services.

What constitutes a Boy Scouts of America trademark?

All variances of names and visual representations of the Boy Scouts of America are considered BSA trademarks. BSA owns these trademarks and carefully manages their commercial use.

BSA trademarks are the exclusive property of the Boy Scouts of America. In order to protect the proprietary marks of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the U.S. Congress granted BSA a federal charter (36 U.S.C. § 30901 et. seq.) in 1916. This charter gives BSA “the exclusive right to use emblems, badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words and phrases (BSA) adopts.” The marks include any trademark, service mark, name, logo, seal, design, insignia, phrase, or other symbol or device associated with or referring to Boy Scouts of America.

How to use Boy Scouts of America trademarks properly 

You may use BSA trademarks (but not logos, taglines, or icons) to identify BSA products or services, provided such references are truthful, fair, and not misleading as to Boy Scouts of America sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your company, your products or services, and that you follow the BSA trademark guidelines.

You may not use any logo, insignia, terms in common usage, photography, or descriptive marks relating to Scouting that serve as a direct or indirect endorsement of your product or venture unless such use is agreed to or you are licensed to do so by the BSA.

Boy Scouts of America Trademarks in Third-Party Product Names or Materials

BSA trademarks may not be used by third parties as a part of their company, product, service, domain, or trade names without an express written agreement permitting such use. Third parties may not use BSA trademarks in the manufacture or distribution of a product, or in a commercial manner to directly or indirectly sell a product or service.

Third parties should consult with the BSA to determine whether and under what circumstances such use of BSA trademarks are authorized.