Maybe you read about this today. I learned about it from Kai Ryssdal on Marketplace (let’s face it, I just enjoy typing “Kai Ryssdal”). Read the story from the New York Times (the first link) and then rejoin us. We’ll wait . . .
OK. You’re back. Good. Now, J & J’s main point seems to be that they had the trademark before the American Red Cross received their Congressional charter, but this “Congressional charter” thing is a smokescreen.? Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881, six years before J & J began to use the symbol.? Furthermore, the International Red Cross was founded in Switzerland in 1863.? This “Congressional charter” that J & J is talking about was the U.S. Congress’ official recognition of the Red Cross as the organization designated to carry out the Geneva Convention.? The “chartering” of the Red Cross by Congress has nothing to do with its founding or when it began using the Red Cross symbol.? Besides, the Red Cross is using the profits from the items they’ve licensed for world relief efforts. Furthermore, should anyone be able to copyright The Cross?
If J&J were simply asking the American Red Cross to cease and desist marketing products with the Cross on them, since the Red Cross is a non-profit organization, I could grudgingly see their point. I would still think they’re a bunch of meeskeits, but I could see their point. What I cannot get over is that J&J is asking for all of the products on store shelves right now that bear the American Red Cross symbol to be destroyed. Nice. They are also asking for all the profits from the sales of these items. The Red Cross has made less than $10 million from these items. Did I mention that this money was going for world relief efforts?
According to The Independent today, J&J had sales last year of $53 billion, with profits of $11 billion. Apparently that’s not enough: they want the Red Cross’s money too.
In the meantime, consider buying Curad or Nexcare bandages instead of Band-Aids; Percogesic or Panadol instead of Tylenol; Gerber, Suave, Mustela, Baby Magic, or California Baby children’s skin/hair care products instead of Johnson’s products. (By the way, Suave Kids’ Detangling Spray sprays more evenly than J&J’s No More Tangles, so it coats more evenly, meaning you use less of it. It also detangles just as well and is usually around $1.00 less than Johnson’s too.)
The Red Cross is actually the Geneva Cross, so is Johnson & Johnson also going to exhume and sue Calvin, Farel, Beza, and Knox? Will they then sue the World Alliance of Reformed Churches? How about the nation of Switzerland? It’s also known as the Greek Cross. So how about suing the Greek Orthodox Church? Who are they going to sue after that? JESUS?
Who could be putting all these ideas into Johnson & Johnson’s greedy little corporate minds? I just can’t imagine who. . . I’m going to have to tap on Mr. Noggin . . .
I can just see all the church bulletins next year. “Good Friday – The Stations of the Cross?, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson.”
UPDATE (Satirical): The Nation of Switzerland sues Johnson & Johnson.