The Lanham Act, as codified in 15 U.S.C. §1125, is the statutory basis for most trademark claims. Many common issues in trademark law and other areas of civil litigation—e.g., consumer confusion, dilution, false designation of origin, trade dress infringement, false advertising, etc.—are addressed in the Lanham Act.
Because the Lanham Act primarily addresses the ways in which consumers interpret—and misinterpret—names, symbols, and other marks used by businesses in commerce, issues raised in the Lanham Act are particularly well-suited to testing through consumer research. Consumer research is the process of sampling from a large group of relevant consumers and asking them carefully constructed questions to elicit opinions about a certain topic or topics. When designed and executed correctly, consumer research studies yield highly reliable data that is projectable to the studied population as a whole.
Thus, a well-designed consumer research study can provide empirical evidence on the issue of whether an alleged trademark infringement is having a real world impact on consumers. Likewise, a consumer study can provide evidence as to whether a mark has achieved secondary meaning with relevant consumers. A consumer study on the issue of trade dress can determine whether consumers associate a particular package design with a single, unique source.
These are just a few examples of Lanham Act issues that can be analyzed with a consumer research study. Call us to find out how Keegan & Donato Consulting can design a consumer research study to strengthen your Lanham Act case.