J&J wanted the non-profit to stop using the logo on goods sold at retail. Both sides have agreed to end the dispute after a New York judge tossed J&J’s trademark claim last month. J&J could have fought on, but it has “no desire to continue our dispute through trial and appeal,” according to CEO William Weldon’s statement. That’s a good move to stop the bleeding.
The disaster relief organization is the clear-cut winner in the case since it can continue to market emergency gear carrying the disputed logo. The American Red Cross sold about $10M of those supplies last year. That’s amount is chump change for the $61B healthcare conglomerate.
J&J maintains the legal battle was justified because it must protect the sanctity of its trademarks. That’s a good legal point, but suing America’s No. 1 emergency responder just didn’t make any sense from a PR standpoint.
The New Jersey-based company appeared greedy, demanding money earned by the Red Cross from the gear sale. That cash, according to the Red Cross, is used for disasters. But even worse, J&J came across as heartless. That’s not a good image for a company that has forged a reputation as the care-giver of America’s infants.
J&J can rise to the occasion by donating cash/supplies to help the Red Cross in its flood effort. That could be the first step for Weldon in his effort to restore the reputation of a company that has taken a severe blow due to an unwise lawsuit.