One primary function of a trademark is to prevent consumer confusion. With a mounting number of brands competing for share of mind in the marketplace, some confusion is inevitable. A well-executed survey can help brand owners and their counsel assess whether consumers are indeed confused.
Keegan & Donato Consulting can help you solve your biggest IP litigation and marketing research challenges with the help of the actionable insight gained from a methodologically sound consumer survey. We can quickly deliver intelligence within a wide range of budgets.
We provide nationwide service to attorneys practicing in federal and state courts, before arbitration panels, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), and other specialty venues, and have been engaged by leading firms, such as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Boston, Arnold Porter LLP in San Francisco, Blank Rome LLP in Philadelphia, and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City.
What is Confusion?
When too similar, marks may confuse consumers into buying unwanted good or services, may dilute or damage a brand’s reputation, or may allow competitors to benefit from the established reputation of another brand. The more similarity between two marks, the more likely consumers may be confused, and the more likely infringement is present.
There are a variety of issues to consider when analyzing whether a consumer could be confused into purchasing one item, believing he was purchasing a different item. There are also different types of confusion. They include:
- Actual confusion: In the case of counterfeit goods, even experts may be unable to distinguish between a genuine product and its imitation. But it’s also possible for products with similar names or packaging to be confusingly similar. For example, a cleaning product called “Pine-Soll” in the supermarket would likely cause a consumer to confuse it with the national brand, Pine-Sol.
- Confusion over the source: Consumers may know that two products are not the same. However, they may mistakenly believe that the products come from the same source. For example, it’s possible that a consumer who is familiar with the Microsoft computer giant may assume that they put out a product called “Micro Software.”
- Confusion over types of goods: It may be clear that two products are not put out by the same company. However, a consumer may believe that one product is authorized, sponsored or approved by the original company. For example, a baseball cap with a L.A. Dodgers™ logo is clearly not a baseball team. But it would not be unreasonable for a consumer to assume that the baseball team sponsored or authorized the cap.
How Surveys Can Help
Keegan & Donato Consulting has conducted and critiqued hundreds of likelihood of confusion studies across industries ranging from designer apparel to high-end audio products and everything in between.
Our surveys address the issue of consumer confusion from a scientific perspective, providing empirical data regarding the extent to which consumers believe that certain brands at issue emanate from the same source or are somehow related. It is this understanding of how consumers view the relationship between brands which forms the basis of a likelihood of confusion analysis.
Consumer research studies can also be conducted to examine issues such as the extent to which particular marketing claims influence consumer demand for a product, how marketing communications impact consumer likelihood of purchase, and the relationship between marketing communications and the consumer’s willingness to pay a premium for a product.
Whether you are interested in a consumer confusion survey to support a case, a marketing research survey, or another type of trademark survey, take advantage of the extraordinary expertise of our company by contacting Keegan & Donato Consulting at (914) 967-9421.
Learn more about our services:
Likelihood of confusion
Strength of mark
Lanham Act claims