BSA to Hacker Scouts: change your name or be sued

The Hacker Scouts is an organization "that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education, skill building and community engagement with the aspiration to help our children develop skills in the areas they are truly interested in, abilities that would allow them to dream big and create big." They filed for a trademark on the name "Hacker Scouts" and got a legal threat from lawyers for the Boy Scouts of America. After a protracted back-and-forth by mail, the Hacker Scouts have gone public, because the BSA won't soften its position: call yourselves the ____________ Scouts, and we'll sue.

This is a difficult situation for us. We believe in our name and our right to use the word "scouts". The BSA's main argument is that they have a constitutional charter that they interpret to mean they have the right to use and trademark any word they choose. We disagree. We believe the charter itself may be unconstitutional, and that "scouts" is a world-wide connotation for a youth organization that existed before them and will exist long after them. We have also tried to be very clear in our message that we are not affiliated with the Boy Scouts nor are we trying to replace them. We do not offer the same experience, nor do we have a similar model as they do. We did not base our organization on them.

Our board will be making a decision soon, based on advice from our lawyers and our own sense of duty. Our primary responsibility is to act in service of our mission and the kids we serve. We have been thinking a lot about our core values and what path models those values to the community we care so deeply about; moving on when it is necessary or standing up for what is right. Thinking about this situation in that context has been powerful and meaningful for us.

Hacker Scouts and the BSA (Thanks, Jerry!)