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I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, ’cause Band-Aid sues charities

August 9th, 2007 · No Comments

Full disclosure: I do not consider myself a shareholder directly because I do not own shares of JNJ. However I do invest in a variety of mutual funds and index ETFs in which JNJ is a major component. That’s why I was shocked to hear that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is suing the Red Cross because their logo is a red cross!

Johnson & Johnson purports itself to care about its consumers, and spends expends a heavy effort into its generally positive corporate image. An interesting read, given the context here, is the Johnson & Johnson credo — which purports to put all things before profit. So then why initiate legal action against one of the most respected humanitarian charity organizations in the world? It’s a play out of the RIAA and MPAA playbook — if you have intellectual property rights enforceable in court, you use it or lose it. But it’s just not that simple, because Johnson & Johnson is suing not only for the exclusive rights to “their” logo, they are suing for punitive damages, legal fees, and the destruction of all medical supplies not specifically licensed by them! I guess that falls under the part in the credo about “support[ing] good works and charities”.

“For a multi-billion dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute that was created to protect the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross-simply so that J&J can make more money-is obscene,” said Mark W. Everson, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. Actually, Mark, it’s not obscene — girls in bikinis frolicking wildly in kiddie pools — that’s obscene.

The red cross symbol has been shared by both organizations for over a hundred years, but the International Committee of the Red Cross had it first by a long shot. I can only hope that if legal action against the Red Cross continues, that Johnson & Johnson loses rights to the logo and that they are granted to the Red Cross exclusively. Or maybe Johnson & Johnson should start suing armed forces medical cores and military chaplains as well!

To the executives at Johnson & Johnson: try to keep your lawyers from running the show in the future. The Red Cross came up with it before any of you jerks were even born. So quit crying about it: No more tears!

Tags: Business · Complaint Department

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