J&J sues Red Cross over use of symbol

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A legal battle is underway between Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross involving the use of the iconic red cross logo that is currently used by both organizations.

J&J on Wednesday filed a lawsuit demanding the nonprofit relief services group to stop using the symbol on products it sells the public.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in New York, claims the American Red Cross organization is only supposed use the symbol in connection with nonprofit relief services.
J&J said it was forced to file the lawsuit after it found that the American Red Cross started a campaign to license the trademark to several businesses for commercial purposes on various types of products being sold in retail and commercial outlets.

The lawsuit also names four licensing partners involved in marketing the disputed products.

The products included baby mitts, nail clippers, combs, toothbrushes and humidifiers.

The Red Cross contends that all the money it receives from the sale of these products to consumers is reinvested in its humanitarian programs and services.

“The Red Cross products that J&J wants to take away from consumers and have destroyed are those that help Americans get prepared for life's emergencies,” said Red Cross president Mark Everson in a statement. “I hope that the courts and Congress will not allow Johnson & Johnson to bully the American Red Cross.”

Both J&J and the American Red Cross have long-held separate and distinct rights to the use of the red cross design trademark.

J&J began using its red cross design and word trademarks in 1887, predating the formation of the American Red Cross in 1900, the drugmaker said.

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