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#102103 - 08/09/07 01:11 PM Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross
JCWohlschlag Offline
Some guy who wandered in
Old Hand

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 724
Loc: Dallas, Pennsylvania, United S...
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/DCW08208082007-1.htm

Quote:
Today, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) filed a lawsuit against the American Red Cross and four of its licensing partners for "unlawful conduct" related to the nonprofit's use of the Red Cross emblem.

Okay, so a judge will now have to decide whether the American Red Cross may use a "red cross" symbol? confused
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#102107 - 08/09/07 01:23 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: JCWohlschlag]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
A little more history on the American Red Cross. Back in the days when everyone smoked, some cigarette companies routinely donated cartons of cigs to GI's, via the Red Cross. The RC then SOLD those donated cigs to the underpaid servicemen. If you are in the military and a death occurs in your family, the RC will make immediate arraingments for you to receive emergency leave, and make travel reservations for you. You will be billed for that travel, the ENTIRE cost coming out of your next paycheck, no matter how far down the food chain you are, and how little you make. Most service people who have had any dealings with the RC do not like them one little bit...
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#102118 - 08/09/07 04:07 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: OldBaldGuy]
GarlyDog Offline

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Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
When someone infriges on your branding, copyright, patent, or other intellectual property, your only legitimate recourse is taking action in the court system.

So yes, a judge will decide.

I don't see why this is a problem. Should J&J roll over after spending $$$$ to create, promote and build their branding?

The American Red Cross is now competing with J&J in a commercial venture. The ARC has to play by the rules like everyone else. If a judge decides the American Red Cross crossed the line, so be it. I doubt J&J would have taken on this PR nightmare if they weren't convinced that they have a good chance to prevail.

IMO, the emotional argument presented by the American Red Cross's CEO was telling.

If the law was on their side, they could just argue that position. I haven't seen anything presented by the ARC that would indicate that they don't see a problem with their use of the branding. The only thing I could find is how the profit hungry corporation is trying to damage a benevolent Not-for-Profit.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Thanks for the post.















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#102124 - 08/09/07 04:55 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: JCWohlschlag]
Ron Offline
Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 171
Loc: Georgia, USA
It looks to me like this is about Red Cross SELLING products with the red cross logo.

Take a look at the products that Red Cross sells:

https://www.redcrossstore.org/dp.aspx?pgid=-1


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#102125 - 08/09/07 04:59 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Frank2135 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 266
Loc: Ohio, USA
Then there was this little story following the September 11 attacks:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/30/eveningnews/main516886.shtml

Some chapters of the Red Cross are great. As an organization, their goals are great. But they do cross the line between charity and big business a lot, and their history of oversight of the local chapters is incredibly poor.


Frank2135
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#102127 - 08/09/07 05:00 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: JCWohlschlag]
drahthaar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 109
The idea that J&J has owns the "red cross symbol" - is absurd.

It's strange that when large companies file these silly claims that people don't call them frivolous.


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#102128 - 08/09/07 05:07 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: drahthaar]
GarlyDog Offline

Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
Originally Posted By: drahthaar
The idea that J&J has owns the "red cross symbol" - is absurd.



Why?

McDonalds owns the "Golden Arches"
NBC owns the peacock
Apple computer owns the image of an apple.

What makes a red cross exempt?
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#102130 - 08/09/07 05:27 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: drahthaar]
Frank2135 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 266
Loc: Ohio, USA
It's not really that absurd. According to Wikpedia, Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886. The International Society of the Red Cross had only been formed in Switzerland in the 1860s, and Clara Barton only began organizing the American Red Cross in 1873. It is extremely possible that J & J registered and trademarked the red cross symbol in the US before the ARC ever thought of doing it.

And I don't know that the claims are frivolous. Taking on a charity is a tough decision for a company that lives or dies by the public's perception of them. I would think they would not have done so unless they felt they had a very strong case.

Frank2135
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#102131 - 08/09/07 05:34 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: GarlyDog]
drahthaar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 109
The American Red Cross was created before J&J started using the symbol. And the International Red Cross was founded even earlier in Switzerland. So here were these charitable organizations using this symbol and J&J comes along later and stick it on its products. What scum.

And - I don't know about the selling cigs and other things mentioned above but my only personal experience with the red cross was when an apartment building burned down on my block in the middle of the night. A red cross team showed up while the firefighters were still fighting the fire. They gave the people who lived in the buildings clothing, offered them cell phones to call friends, checked to see if anyone needed medications to replace the ones lost in the fire, and arranged to transport people to a hotel. And I don't know how long the Red Cross would have been willing to pay for the hotel, but I know that they paid for two nights for the people I knew until they could find friends to live with. Like I said, that is just my limited personal experience.

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#102134 - 08/09/07 05:43 PM Re: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross [Re: drahthaar]
drahthaar Offline
Member

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 109
Here's the entry from Wikipedia re the ICRC:

"The Red Cross on white background was the original protection symbol declared at the 1864 Geneva Convention. It is, in terms of its color, a reversal of the Swiss national flag, a meaning which was adopted to honor Swiss founder Henry Dunant and his home country. The ideas to introduce a uniform and neutral protection symbol as well as its specific design originally came from Dr. Louis Appia and General Henri Dufour, founding members of the International Committee. The Red Cross is defined as a protection symbol in Article 7 of the 1864 Geneva Convention, Chapter VII ("The distinctive emblem") and Article 38 of the 1949 Geneva Convention ("For the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field")"

In short twenty years before J&J was founded, the symbol was recognized in the Geneva Convention.

What corporate chutzpah!

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