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BSA v. TEAL

April 23, 1974

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, A Corporation, ET AL.
v.
FRED W. TEAL and HAVERTOWN SEA SCOUTS, INC., A Corporation


Higginbotham, J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HIGGINBOTHAM

If a review were made of every civil suit filed in the last five decades, it is improbable that one could find a case which presents less merit than defendants' defense and defendants' counterclaims. The Boy Scouts of America (hereinafter referred to as "BSA") has brought this action against the Havertown Sea Scouts, Inc., a purported youth organization not affiliated in any way with BSA or the Sea Scouting Program, operating in and around Havertown, Pennsylvania; it has also brought suit against the "leader" President of the Havertown Sea Scouts, Fred W. Teal. The BSA seeks to enjoin defendants from representing themselves as associated with or approved by the BSA, and from using words, names, uniform and insignia which are commonly used by or identified with BSA, and to which BSA has a statutory and common law protection against infringement. BSA does not seek to prohibit defendants from conducting their program of youth activities as long as they refrain from misrepresenting themselves as a "Scout" organization and "Scout" leader in the course of such activities.

 Extensive discovery has been conducted by the parties. Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c), or in the alternative a Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). After a careful review of the briefs, depositions and an important in camera document marked Court's Exhibit No. 1, plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief against defendants is granted and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and the dismissal of defendants' counterclaims are granted.

 I.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Prior to January 31, 1971, Explorer Unit 792, known as "Sea Explorer Ship 792" was an Explorer unit of BSA, located in Havertown, Pennsylvania, and operating under the jurisdiction of the Valley Forge Council of BSA. *fn1"

 3. The Charter from BSA to Sea Explorer Ship 792 (registered in the name of American Legion Post 338) expired on January 31, 1971, and was not renewed.

 4. Teal's BSA registration as unit leader likewise expired on January 31, 1971, and he has not since been re-registered with BSA nor is he now a member of or otherwise affiliated with BSA. BSA has not granted Teal authorization to use any of BSA's emblems, insignia, descriptive or designating marks or words and phrases.

 5. During the pendency of their dispute with BSA, commencing January 31, 1971, Teal has been leader and "skipper" of a nonprofit youth organization known as Havertown Sea Scouts, Inc., which was incorporated in Pennsylvania by Teal in 1972. Teal and Havertown Sea Scouts, Inc., have employed the designation "Ship 792" and since January 31, 1971, they have used other emblems, insignia, descriptive or designating marks or words and phrases of BSA.

 6. Congress has granted BSA:

 
"* * * 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 and phrases now or heretofore used by the Boy Scouts of America in carrying out its program * * *" 36 U.S.C. § 27.

 7. In late 1970 Teal received notice from the sponsor of Sea Explorer Ship 792 (American Legion Post 338) that it no longer would act as a sponsor of the unit. Since then there have been no other official sponsors. The other applications made, if any, were only oral, and Teal has no direct knowledge of such applications.

 8. Teal received notice from Valley Forge Council that his position as a volunteer Scout leader was ...


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