Saturday, May 24, 2008

American Red Cross Appears Headed for Victory in Trademark Dispute

The American Red Cross appears headed for victory in its legal dispute with Johnson & Johnson over its Congressionally granted right to use the Red Cross symbol.  J&J and the Red Cross have been sharing use of the symbol since 1895.  But in a recent ruling, the judge in the case dismissed more cliams by J&J that the Red Cross infringed on J&J trademark rights by licensing the use of the symbol to third parties as a fund-raising mechanism.  Here is an excerpt from the May 13, 2008, article in the New York Times:

Last August, the company said it had no recourse but to take the dispute to court. In his second ruling dismissing part of the case — the first one was in November — Judge Rakoff said that charitable reasons for Red Cross’s business ventures made them all the more reasonable.

“The fact that the ultimate purpose of these licensing activities is a ‘charitable purpose’ — i.e. to raise funds that A.R.C., a not-for-profit organization, can utilize for its charitable endeavors — only further emphasizes their legitimacy,” his decision said.

Judge Rakoff said the doubtfulness of Johnson & Johnson’s claim against the organization was “well illustrated by the ironic fact” that in 1986 the company itself entered into a similar promotional agreement with the Red Cross.

For the entire article, see "Judge Sides With Red Cross Over Trademark" in the May 13, 2008, issue of the New York Times.


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