August 9th, 2007
It was a busy night.
As a former journalist, I appreciated how undeniably juicy the story would be: Johnson & Johnson sues the American Red Cross and other parties over…. What?! … the use of the RED CROSS?!
It was almost too easy.
I also know that companies, like Johnson & Johnson, built on innovation and long-lived brands must resolutely defend their rights in these innovations, and in these brands.
One of Johnson & Johnson’s oldest trademarks is the Red Cross design. We began using the Red Cross design and “Red Cross” word trademarks in the United States in 1887, predating the chartering of the American Red Cross. The company has had exclusive rights to use the Red Cross trademark on products in certain categories for over 100 years. Since its creation, the American Red Cross has had the rights to use the Red Cross trademark in connection with its non-profit relief services.
If you’re interested in the history of Johnson & Johnson’s use of the Red Cross symbol, our history blog, kilmerhouse.com, will have some additional background and photos available later today. Interestingly, Clara Barton herself acknowledged and affirmed our rights to this exclusive use of the mark back in 1895.