Arms of the Portuguese Red Cross

Heraldry of Potugal
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Chas Charles-Dunne
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Re: Arms of the Portuguese Red Cross

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 21 Jul 2014, 12:28

Ryan Shuflin wrote:I suspect that since the Red Cross was established by international law, that there is some extra protection given the red cross symbol, but it's scope, I do not know.

Iain Boyd wrote:Dear Charles,
The red cross symbol may 'belong' to the International Committee of the Red Cross, BUT, I would be very surprised if they could stop any individual (let alone a national organisation) from using the same cross in their coat of arms - whatever it's symbolism in those arms.
Iain Boyd

Ryan is quite right. The various Geneva Conventions govern the use of the symbol.

The overwhelming vast majority of members internationally are not armigerous. Apart from a few County and National Officers (who were appointed for their connections), I know of only one armigerous member in the UK - me.

As a member and officer of almost 20 years standing, I used to train members in the history of the Red Cross and its use. I know for a fact that National Societies do NOT abuse the privilege. For a while, senior officers of the BRCS wore the symbol on a white shield-shaped badge on their collars in full dress uniform. This was discontinued and replaced with a roundel instead. The point being that it was just shield-shaped and not in any way heraldic.

Individual members, as part of their training, learn about the origins of the Societies and the protection afforded by the symbol. I would be very surprised if one of them assumed arms and flouted the conventions. I really can't see either the College or Lord Lyon granting arms with the symbol without consulting the Society first. The same would go for the St John symbol or any other publicly known symbol.

Surprisingly it is the armed forces of the various countries which abuse the symbol the most. When forces are "under arms", they just can't get their heads round the idea of "You can't bring your gun into the first aid post".
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Re: Arms of the Portuguese Red Cross

Postby JMcMillan » 21 Jul 2014, 12:56

The red cross and associated symbols used by the military medical services of non-Christian countries (red crescent, red lion-and-sun, and the recently added red crystal) are not controlled by the International Committee of the Red Cross but by the states parties to the 1st and 2nd Geneva Conventions of 1949 and other wartime belligerents.

The red cross, i.e., the Swiss federal arms in reversed colors, was originally adopted by the 1864 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Wounded in Armies in the Field. Its principal use is on the flags, armlets, facilities, and equipment employed in the medical services of armed forces in combat, and Geneva I (1949), article 44, bans all uses of the red cross or the equivalent emblems for any other purpose, except that:

(1) National Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies may use the emblems in peacetime for activities in conformity with the principles of the Red Cross movement.
(2) In wartime, these societies may use the emblems for their other activities only if they are clearly not implying the protection of the convention.
(3) International Red Cross organizations (such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) may use the emblems at all times.

It is up to each state party to the Geneva Conventions to give the force of law to the provisions of the conventions within its own jurisdiction. Exactly how this is done varies from country to country.
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Martin Goldstraw
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Re: Arms of the Portuguese Red Cross

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 21 Jul 2014, 13:01

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge has tossed out most of a lawsuit in which the health-products maker Johnson & Johnson claimed that the American Red Cross was breaking 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 trademark infringement suit demanded that the Red Cross stop using its emblem on health care 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. He said that when Congress chartered the Red Cross and gave it the near-exclusive right to use the red cross emblem, it also gave the group leeway to use the logo to promote itself and raise money for its charitable works.

Since then, the American Red Cross has licensed the symbol many times, to companies including manufacturers of first aid supply kits, watchmakers and the jeweler Tiffany & Co.

Johnson & Johnson's interpretation of the law, Rakoff wrote, 'would criminalize not only the licensing agreements that, as noted above, ARC has been entering into for more than a century, but also a host of other familiar and traditional ARC activities.'

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

He also dismissed a Red Cross counterclaim in which the organization said Johnson & Johnson was, itself, engaging in trademark violations by using the red cross symbol on certain products.

Johnson & Johnson spokesman Marc Monseau said the company was disappointed that the judge rejected its argument regarding commercial uses of the emblem, but pleased that it was cleared to continue using the red cross as its trademark.

The company began using the symbol in 1887, six years after the creation of the American Red Cross, but prior to the creation of the group's federal charter in 1900. Johnson & Johnson's use of the trademark was grandfathered under a 1905 law.

'We are reviewing the decision and look forward to continuing this process to resolve our legal dispute with the American Red Cross,' Monseau said.

A spokeswoman for the American Red Cross had no immediate comment on the ruling. ... 1&epic=JNJ
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Re: Arms of the Portuguese Red Cross

Postby Mike_Oettle » 16 Mar 2015, 20:39

While the International Committee of the Red Cross might have avoided any armorial use of their emblem, it is clearly derived from the Swiss national arms (although that device is hardly of mediæval origin as a national symbol).
So to say that it is entirely non-heraldic is not entirely true.
It seems highly likely that the Portuguese Red Cross makes use of the red cross as a symbol, in addition to its appearance in its corporate coat of arms. And certainly in wartime it would not want its ambulances to be mistaken by the enemy.
I personally like the coat of arms, and feel it a pity that the Portuguese society is probably unique within the Red Cross in having a coat of arms.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.
[Proverbs 14:27]

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