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Don’t even think of using the Girl Scout cookie name without their permission

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Remember that time that Girl Scouts sold cookies at the Oscars?
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

If your freezer isn’t already stocked with emergency boxes of Thin Mints (they make an excellent last minute gift if you’ve forgotten a birthday), there’s still a little time left in Girl Scout Cookie season.

But even if you’re late to the cookie game, Girl Scout Cookie super fans have some tasty options during the off-season, as well. The Girl Scouts of the USA have licensing agreements with several companies, making it possible to snack on yogurt, ice cream, or granola bars flavored like Thin Mints or the coconut-caramel concoctions known as Samoas or Caramel deLites, depending on where you live.

You can also make your own Girl Scouts-inspired brownies or cupcakes at home from a mix. Dunkin Donuts is also serving, for a limited time, Girl Scout Cookie-flavored coffee, in Thin Mint, caramel coconut and peanut butter varieties.

Cookie-flavored yogurts and peanut butter-flavored coffee may or may not be a good idea, but these licensing agreements—which also include home decor, stuffed animals, and breakfast cereal—are an important source of revenue for the organization. But copycats beware: The Girl Scout Cookie name and brand is carefully protected—which means that if you do not have the explicit blessing of GSUSA, then you may not call something a Thin Mint Shake or a Girl Scout Pie, even if it contains actual Thin Mints purchased from actual Girl Scouts.

Annaliese Griffin
Totally normal to keep your Girl Scout cookies hidden in a box, on a shelf in the laundry room, right?

“Revenue from Girl Scout-licensed products is invested in program innovations, new tools to improve the volunteer experience, and enhancements to improve the Girl Scout experience,” a GSUSA spokesperson wrote in an email to Quartz. “Keeping in mind that fewer than eight cents of every dollar granted by U.S. foundations goes toward addressing girls’ needs and issues, any company that profits from using the Girl Scout brand without permission is taking funds away from the ever-important work that Girl Scouts does to foster girls’ leadership.”

To be clear, it’s fine to use Girl Scout Cookies in a confection and list them as an ingredient on a menu description—it’s just not okay to use the Girl Scout name or a specific cookie when you give the dish a formal name or promote it. For example, Mile High Mint Pie, made with Thin Mints, is fine. The Thin Mint Milkshake is not. See the difference?

This goes for other—more adult-type—treats as well. Girl Scout Cookies is a popular strain of weed, known for being a powerful, Cannabis Cup winner. In 2017, GSUSA issued a cease and desist letter to an Oakland dispensary that was selling the Girl Scout Cookies strain. This, like the Girl Scout who cleaned up by selling cookies in front of a San Diego smoke shop, is an inevitable, cookie-related consequence of the new open market for marijuana.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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