Johnson & Johnson has held the exclusive right to use the “red cross” symbol for commercial purposes for more than 100 years, and is now suing the American Red Cross because it says the ARC is using its trademark in a commercial way. From CBC:
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, marked the breakdown of months of behind-the-scenes negotiations and prompted an angry response from the Red Cross.
“For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute … simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene,” said Mark Everson, the Red Cross president.
Johnson & Johnson began using the red cross design as a trademark in 1887 — six years after the creation of the American Red Cross but before it received its congressional charter in 1900.
The lawsuit contends that the charter did not empower the Red Cross to engage in commercial activities competing with a private business.
“After more than a century of strong cooperation in the use of the Red Cross trademark. … we were very disappointed to find that the American Red Cross started a campaign to license the trademark to several businesses for commercial purposes,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
The ARC says that the products in question help Americans get ready for emergencies and the money goes to help the Red Cross’ relief efforts.
“The Red Cross products that J&J wants to take away from consumers … are those that help Americans get prepared for life’s emergencies,” Everson said. “I hope that the courts and Congress will not allow Johnson & Johnson to bully the American Red Cross.”
Children! Can you please get along?
Drug giant seeing red over Red Cross emblem [CBC] (Thanks, sabler!)