August 10th, 2007
Just to be Clear
Keeping employees informed on the status of events impacting the company is critical, particularly in a large, decentralized organization like Johnson & Johnson. In an email to employees today, CEO Bill Weldon addressed some aspects of the lawsuit filed against the American Red Cross and some of its licensees. He said he was providing perspective and background information that might be helpful to employees in their personal and professional conversations about the topic. Rather than repeating what he said, I’ll simply extract from his letter below:
“…We have generously supported the American Red Cross and its charitable endeavors and will continue to do so. However, we ultimately felt we had no other choice but to seek protection of our trademark rights to the Red Cross symbol through our justice system. For many months, we tried unsuccessfully to resolve the differences on an amicable basis and even requested that the parties enter into mediation to achieve this objective, but the American Red Cross refused to do so.
“Sometimes it is important to keep things simple in discussion. Here are some simple facts about the civil complaint Johnson & Johnson filed against the American Red Cross:
“1) We are not asking the American Red Cross to stop using the Red Cross symbol for its legitimate purposes.
“2) We are asking that the American Red Cross stop licensing the Red Cross symbol to for-profit companies that use the trademark to compete with Johnson & Johnson products that have had exclusive rights to use the Red Cross symbol for over 100 years.
“3) We continue our long-standing support for the primary mission of the American Red Cross in humanitarian relief.
“4) We expect to contribute or direct monetary gains from the lawsuit itself to philanthropic purposes. Our focus has always been on the protection of our intellectual property.
“5) If we did not pursue this action, we would jeopardize rights to one of Johnson & Johnson’s longest-lived, most trusted trademarks and establish a dangerous precedent.”