Johnson & Johnson, Co. sued the American Red Cross (ARC) for the relief agency’s use of Johnson & Johnson’s trademarked red cross logo. The ARC used the logo on the agency’s distribution of first aid kits, hand sanitizers and medical gloves that were sold to the public. In the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson seeks an injunction to prohibit the sale of those items to such vendors as Wal-Mart and Target, an order to turn over all unsold goods to Johnson & Johnson, and an order to turn over all profits made from the sale of the products in question.
This lawsuit marks the end of a long-standing cooperation that existed between the large band-aid maker and the humanitarian agency. Johnson & Johnson has owned the trademark for the logo since 1887 and sold first aid and wound care products under this logo. In 1895, the founder of the ARC reached an agreement with Johnson & Johnson acknowledging the company’s exclusive use of the logo, but the ARC was allowed to use the mark for non-profit services. The two sides were able to conduct business without dispute until the present lawsuit. The president of the ARC issued a statement expressing that the money the ARC receives from sales goes toward humanitarian efforts and helping Americans cope with disasters. Therefore, he stated that the ARC is on solid legal ground to overcome this lawsuit based on the agreement with Johnson & Johnson. The ARC also is defending its use of the logo on the basis that the congressional charter issued to the ARC in 1900 does not allow the agency to engage in commercial activities competing with private businesses; therefore, the use is non-commercial.
Filed under: In the Courts by admin