Johnson & Johnson is suing the American Red Cross over its practice of licensing the familiar red-cross emblem to businesses for use on commercial goods.
In a seething news release, Red Cross President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Everson called the lawsuit obscene.
Johnson & Johnson claims the company has had exclusive rights on commercial use of the trademark for more than 100 years. Recently, though, the Red Cross has forged agreements with other companies First Aid Only, Learning Curve International, Magla Products and Water-Jel Technologiesto display the cross on a variety of items.
The Red Cross describes them as first-aid, preparedness and related products and says the intention of the deals is to encourage Americans to be ready for emergencies. The Red Cross share of the sales is reinvested in its humanitarian programs and services.
Johnson & Johnson says the products include nail clippers, baby mitts, combs, toothbrushes and humidifiers.
The lawsuit, filed Aug. 8 in U.S. District Court in New York, asks that the Red Cross and its partners end the licensing contracts, surrender the products for destruction and pay Johnson & Johnson the proceeds and punitive damages. -- by Gregg Blesch
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Physician Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.