So Johnson & Johnson, a family company, is suing the American Red Cross for trademark infringement of its red cross.

This oughta be fun.

112 years ago ARC founder Clara Barton (apparently unwisely) agreed that J&J had exclusive rights to use a red cross to sell bandaids and first aid kits and the like. Now the Red Cross has gotten into the business of selling first aid kits, too, and J&J says the whole red cross thing is a violation of its trademark agreement.

ARC CEO Mark Everson has responded in a remarkable combination of flag-waving and chagrin over Ms. Barton’s apparent short-sightedness. The first aid kits sold by the ARC for both fund-raising and to “help Americans prepare for disaster.” The Red Cross will probably do a great job of portraying corporate giants beating up on poor little humanitarians like ARC. (Of course, calling ARC poor or little is akin to not noticing the two-ton elephant sitting next to you on the sofa.)

J&J wants ARC to stop selling medical supplies (and give J&J the profits) and to stop using the cross on anything (apparently) but signs over a first aid tent.

Interesting. I wonder if J&J is planning to sue the Defense Department next? Or perhaps just people who make money and employ red crosses, like hospitals, ambulances, pharmaceutical companies, etc., etc.?