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.

DAB

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonprofit/2008/05/american-red-cr.html

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