Trademark Law Gone Mad: J&J Sues American Red Cross Over Use Of Red Cross
Trademark law can do funny things, especially in this age where many IP lawyers and the popular press have misrepresented the purpose of trademarks. via Techdirt
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#1 Aug 13, 2007
ARC is really playing for sympathy here, but it doesn't work for me.
First, I've had personal experience with the American Red Cross that made it clear the organization is more concerned with media coverage and fundraising than with providing services. For example, I worked with them during the aftermath of an earthquake in San Francisco, where they got in trouble for continuing to solicit for funds to help with the rescue long after they had left the scene. Before they left the rescue center, we had quit sending people over to the ARC in their spiffy jumpsuits because we learned that they didn't really help anyone. Lots of complaints from the predominantly Black victims of that disaster. Another time my crew was slinging sandbags on a flood in Carmel. The ARC was there serving coffee until the media left, then they started charging us for the coffee, and the next day they didn't show up. The media and ARC were there for three days; we were there another three weeks. Another time, after I'd been a volunteer first aid instructor for ARC for years, I asked permission to do a free class for low-income seniors and was denied. That was it for me and the ARC.
Second, J&J has to protect their trademark or they will lose their right to it. J&J gives money to ARC regularly, but when ARC started using the trademark that belongs to J&J for commercial purposes, J&J had to by law step up and demand they stop. I don't have any interest in J&J, and they're all about money just like the ARC is. So in that way it's a level field, and ARC is infringing.
What's not a level playing field is public perception of each organization. ARC collected more money than any other group during Katrina. I think collecting money is ARC's number one priority, and when you know that about them, it's clear this misuse of another company's trademark is just plain old thievery.
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