Johnson & Johnson seeing red

Marketplace Staff Aug 9, 2007


Scott Jagow: Here’s something you don’t hear everyday. A company known for baby shampoo is fighting with the American Red Cross.

Johnson & Johnson has filed a lawsuit against the Red Cross over the little red cross symbol they’ve both been using since the 1880s. Jeremy Hobson tells us what’s going on.

Jeremy Hobson: According to the pact J&J made with the Red Cross back in 1895, the Red Cross wasn’t supposed to use the symbol for commercial purposes.

But three years ago, the organization started selling first-aid kits, as well as nail clippers and humidifiers, all emblazoned with the symbol.

Johnson & Johnson attorney John Crisan says that crossed the line.

John Crisan: They do compete directly with us in the retail and commercial markets, and it ultimately damages our brand.

A brand that earned more than $3 billion last quarter. The lawsuit calls for all sales of the products to be stopped and all the proceeds given to Johnson & Johnson.

Carrie Martin at the Red Cross says she’s astonished by the suit.

Carrie Martin: It’s really a shame that we have to waste our valuable resources on this litigation.

The Red Cross says the $10 million its made selling its products goes to disaster relief.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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