Judge Dismisses One of J&J's Trademark Claims Against American Red Cross

But Marketer's Seven Other Claims Are Allowed to Move Forward

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- A U.S. District Court judge in New York today dismissed one of eight claims by Johnson & Johnson against the American Red Cross in a ruling both sides deemed a victory.
J&J and the Red Cross are in court over a decision to license the relief group's symbol.
J&J and the Red Cross are in court over a decision to license the relief group's symbol. Credit: Richard B. Levine

The ruling dismissed J&J's claim that the American Red Cross had promised not to sell first-aid, health, safety and emergency-preparedness products. In a statement, American Red Cross CEO Mark Everson said he appreciated the court's decision and hoped it would cause J&J "to reassess their actions and drop the case altogether."

Pleased with decision
That doesn't appear likely, as a J&J spokesman said his company also was pleased with the decision, which allows arguments on the other seven claims in the case to go forward as planned. "We're pleased with the court's decision," he said, adding that the court rejected most of the American Red Cross' motion to dismiss.

J&J sued the American Red Cross in August, arguing that the nonprofit group's licensing of the red-cross logo to private-label manufacturers violates the marketer's trademark rights, which it says pre-dates chartering of the relief group in the U.S.

J&J has noted it has given around $5 million to the group in recent years, much more than the roughly $2 million the American Red Cross has said it has earned in royalties by licensing its trademark for everything from first-aid kits to nail clippers and cool-mist humidifiers. J&J also sells first-aid kits bearing a red-cross logo.
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