14 August 2007

Red Cross Sued for Trademark Infringement

According to this BBC article, Johnson & Johnson is suing the Red Cross for trademark infringement. Apparently Johnson & Johnson owns the red cross that Red Cross uses as its symbol. Johnson & Johnson believes that the Red Cross is violating the agreement that it entered into by licensing the red cross to other companies, who are selling Red Cross-endorsed first aid kits.
A copyright/trademark attorney friend of mine tells me that Johnson & Johnson is going to lose, because the trademark does not make people think of Johnson & Johnson and really doesn't have a particular meaning.
I had no idea that Johnson & Johnson owned the trademark for the Red Cross. Prior to reading this article, If you had stopped me on the street and asked me who owned the trademark to the red cross, I would have answered the Red Cross.
To me, if I see a red cross, I either think of first aid or I think of the Red Cross. I certainly don't think of Johnson & Johnson. I think of Johnson & Johnson when I see the script Johnson & Johnson.
Perhaps that's why the Boy Scouts don't use the red cross for the first aid merit badge.

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