Possible Scout Trademark Violation
Ronald W. Fox (ronfox@MINDSPRING.COM)
Thu, 14 Nov 1996 23:35:04 -0500
I design and build local and wide area networks for a living. Because of
this I am on various mailing lists. Last week, we received a large box from
Dell computer systems. Upon opening it, we found a campaign hat and a flyer.
The campaign hat is colored very like my BSA official hat. However, it is
made of somewhat thinner felt (although it is 100% wool), has a cloth outer
hat band (although the inner one is leather), and had a plastic strap. It
fits my son perfectly.
What bothers me was the flyer inside. It was split into two colors, red and
kahki. On the front was a list of 12 words, 8 of them the same as 8 of the
BSA Scout law. They didn't seem to like brave, clean, reverent, and one
other I forget. They threw in reliable (actually not a bad one). I don't
remember the others they added.
Inside, they had on the left hand page a lengthy blurb about how great their
new computers are. Each word that matched the "law" on the front was
highlighted in the text. On the right page was one of their computers, with
the hat on top and a merit badge festooned with merit badges wrapped around it.
The sash looked like official National issue. The merit badges were
DEFINITELY National issue, including First Aid, Safety, Camping, Canoeing,
Hiking, Backpacking, Rowing, Cooking, Citizenship in the Nation, etc, etc.
There were about 7 or 8 rows. I looked very closely at them.
On the back, there was the usual fine print regarding acknowledgements of
trademarks. The BSA was not mentioned. I decided to bypass Council and
Region and called National. I was eventually given to a Mr. Bill Murray in
Electronic Publishing. He expressed surprise that this happened, and
initially surmised that perhaps one of the local Councils in Texas had set
this up. I pointed out that the authority to use BSA trademarks does not
lie with a Council, and that Dell's lawyers would figure that out. The
upshot was that I mailed Bill the flyer, and he told me he'd see that it was
Dell Computer Systems has literally wrapped the BSA's reputation around
their computers in order to sell them. I talked to my local Council, told
them what I did (they were fine with that), and asked what they thought
would happen. They figured that the BSA would tell Dell to cease and
desist, and if Dell did so that the matter would end there.
I don't think that's enough. I think that pressure should be put on Dell
Computer Systems to recompense the movement. I invite all of you to contact
Dell and tell them 1) you are upset about them abusing an institution that
is a great deal more important than they are, and 2) that they should make
some sort of concrete effort to show their regret. Some free computers,
with service policies, installation, and training would be suitable, along
with an apology published in the trade press. For you non-BSA'ers, please
note that Dell probably sells computers in your country as well, and they
could very well try the same thing in your country next.
Dell's web site is www.us.dell.com. They have an order number for servers
at 800.531.2753. I am going to keep in contact with the BSA to determine if
Dell is, in fact, in violation of the BSA's trademarks. If they answer me,
you'll hear about it from me here.
Cubmaster, Pack 69
Willow Springs, Ill.
Des Plaines Valley Council (W&SW Chicago Suburbs)
"... and a good old Eagle, too." C-19-96
Pachsegink Lodge 246 | >>>------> |
Cubmaster, Pack 69, Des Plaines Valley Council (W&SW Chicago Suburbs)
Pachsegink Lodge 246 | >>>------> |
"... and a good old Eagle, too" (C-19-96)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City