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J&J loses most of trademark suit against Red Cross

May 16, 2008|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — A federal judge has tossed out most of a lawsuit in which health-products maker Johnson & Johnson claimed that the American Red Cross broke the law by licensing its famous red-and-white symbol to other companies.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, made public Thursday, is the latest blow to Johnson & Johnson in a bitter trademark battle launched in August over the use of the red cross logo, which the two entities have shared for more than a century.

Originally, the suit demanded the Red Cross stop using its emblem on healthcare products sold to the public.

A good chunk of the lawsuit was dismissed in November, but Johnson & Johnson persisted with a claim that the Red Cross, in licensing its logo to third parties, broke a federal law making it a crime for anyone to use the insignia "for the fraudulent purpose of inducing the belief that he is a member of or an agent for the American National Red Cross."

Rakoff rejected that argument too.

The judge left intact a small part of the suit, which contends the Red Cross interfered with Johnson & Johnson's business relationship with two healthcare supply companies, Water-Jel Technologies Inc. and First Aid Only Inc.

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