Posted by: David Kiley on August 10, 2007
It couldn’t have been easy for Johnson & Johnson to decide to sue the American Red Cross for trademark infringement. The two entities have used the same familiar logo for over a century. And who wants to sue the Red Cross anyway. It makes for terrible PR.
The Red Cross ran afoul of J&J, the company says, when it began licensing its non-profit logo to a few outfits using it on items such as nail-clippers and humidifiers. It’s only a few dollars of licensing fees, but J&J has an army of lawyers who get paid to watchdog its logo.
It seems pretty clear that the ARC has run afoul of fair use of its non-profit logo. It wouldn’t be an issue but for J&J’s long established use of the red-cross symbol.
What’s on display in this civil suit more than trademark law, though, is the ridiculous refusal of adults to come to compromise. And this goes especially for the ARC, whose minsmanagement has been on display since 9-11. If ARC has to spend donations to defend itself in this case, which seems to have so little merit from the standpoint of the defendant, then ARC leadership should really be called in on the carpet by its board.