Lessons in litigation and PR fallout

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Stop the Presses blogged about the Johnson & Johnson lawsuit against the Red Cross, and the PR mess they are creating for themselves.

The two most storied brands in pharmaceuticals and rescue & relief are going toe-to-toe. Johnson & Johnson and the Red Cross have peacefully shared the iconic red cross symbol for more than 100 years–until now. J&J is suing the Red Cross for trademark infringement, claiming that the charity has violated their original agreement of 1895 by licensing use of the red cross logo on products in direct competition with the drug giants’.

Johnson & Johnson is right in protecting its brand, as the blog post affirms, but they certainly seem to be going to far. I’m not sure they are making a smart move, but I guess only time will tell.

The lesson is basic, though:

When it comes to your company’s decision to litigate against a sympathetic and valuable adversary, make sure that the lawyers work with marketing, public relations, and other communications and brand professionals so that every possible consequence is considered.

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