American Red Cross Statement Regarding J&J Amended Complaint
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) filed an amended complaint on September 5, 2007 in connection with the lawsuit it initiated against the American Red Cross and four of its licensing partners for “unlawful conduct” related to the nonprofit’s use of the Red Cross emblem. J&J’s amended complaint continues to demand that the Red Cross cease selling items such as emergency preparedness and first aid kits bearing the Red Cross emblem.
There is nothing in the amended complaint that changes the Red Cross’ view that this lawsuit is wrong on the merits and that J&J has no right to restrict the Red Cross’ use of the Red Cross emblem.
The Red Cross is charged with the mission of helping Americans prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters and emergencies. One way the Red Cross advances this mission is by providing first aid, health, safety and emergency preparedness products that people can conveniently purchase at places where they regularly shop. The Red Cross invests the proceeds from the sale of these products into the life-saving work of the organization.
The Red Cross has used the Red Cross emblem for well over one hundred years in connection with first aid kits and other items. There is nothing that prevents the Red Cross from using its emblem in carrying out duties consistent with its mission.
It is particularly regrettable that J&J’s lawsuit would seek to interfere with the preparedness mission of the Red Cross – increasingly important post 9-11 – during National Preparedness Month when everyone should be working together to get prepared. Research shows only 7 percent of Americans have taken the necessary steps to prepare for disasters, but that 82 percent would get prepared if it was easier to do. Red Cross items such as those that are the subject of the amended complaint help families take the necessary steps to Be Red Cross Ready: to get a kit, make a plan and be informed.
The basis for many of J&J’s claims focuses on an alleged agreement between Clara Barton and J&J in 1895; but the agreement never became effective and does not limit the rights of the American Red Cross to use the Red Cross emblem. In fact, Congress has enacted laws specifically to protect the Red Cross’ use of the Red Cross emblem and to prevent third parties from using it.
The Red Cross will aggressively protect its longstanding right to use the Red Cross emblem in support of its humanitarian mission.
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