UnNews:Johnson & Johnson sues Vatican over "cross" logo
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11 August 2007
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Washington D.C., (UnNews) -- Pharmaceuticals giant Johnson & Johnson is suing the Vatican, demanding that the Catholic Church stop using the symbol of a cross on its churches, garments and other religious ephemera.
The company, which manufactures popular baby lotion, said it has had exclusive rights to use the trademark for more than 100 years.
It argues the Church is only supposed to use the symbol in connection with non-profit relief services. Since the church collects money from people and uses it to pay for fat-cat bishops to live high on the hog and sells religiously themed articles, Johnson and Johnson claim the organization is in breach of its obligations.
The law suit marked the breakdown of months of behind-the-scenes negotiations and prompted an angry response from the Vatican.
Pope Beatitude XII, speaking from the splendor of his Vatican state room said: "For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Church violated a criminal statute ... simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene. Mark my words, I guarantee that everyone from Johnson and Johnson will burn in hell and have their toenails nibbled off by gerbils."
Johnson & Johnson began using the cross design as a trademark in 1887 - 1887 years after the adoption of the cross as a symbol of Christianity but before the Catholic Church received its congressional charter in 1900.
The lawsuit contends that the charter did not empower the Church to engage in commercial activities competing with a private business.
In a statement the company said: "After more than a century of strong cooperation in the use of the Cross trademark. ... we were very disappointed to find that the Church started a campaign to license the trademark to several businesses for commercial purposes."
The suit asks the Church to turn over the products in question to Johnson & Johnson for destruction and also seeks unspecified punitive damages.
"The Church products that J&J wants to take away from consumers ... are those that help Americans get prepared for life's emergencies such as going to hell," Pope Beatitude XII said.
"I hope that the courts and Congress will not allow Johnson & Johnson to bully the Church."
Simon Aardvark, a pharmaceutical analyst with stockbroker Bear-Buttocks said, “The gloves are off on this on. On the one hand we have a multi-billion dollar company and on the other God. It will be interesting to see who prevails.”