In the world of trademark litigation, consumer perception surveys from Keegan & Donato Consulting can play an essential role in determining the likelihood of confusion between two marks, particularly in the area of false advertising and other types of consumer fraud.
Keegan & Donato Consulting, located in Rye, New York, is a specialty research consultancy that designs and executes consumer-based surveys for attorneys and their clients in the context of intellectual property disputes. Principals Mark Keegan and Tony Donato have more than 30 years of cumulative experience in consumer research and can help you strengthen your case.
Testing Consumer Perception
Manufacturers often promote their products by highlighting product attributes on the packaging and in advertising campaigns. Highlighted features range from ingredients to efficacy, technical specifications, performance, and more, and are a means of communication between buyer and seller that can strongly influence a consumer’s purchase decision.
There are several ways in which consumer perception surveys can be useful in trademark litigation. For example, they can help demonstrate the following:
- The strength of the mark: A consumer perception survey can show that the trademark is well-known among the relevant consumer population and has acquired distinctiveness through use in the marketplace.
- The likelihood of confusion: A consumer perception survey can show that using the defendant’s mark will likely cause confusion among consumers regarding the source or origin of the goods or services.
- Actual confusion: A consumer perception survey can show that consumers have been confused in the past by the similarity between the marks, which can be powerful evidence in proving trademark infringement.
At Keegan & Donato Consulting, we test consumer perception through consumer research. A consumer perception survey seeks to measure how consumers perceive a particular mark, product, or service in the marketplace.
In addition to gauging consumer perception of products or services, a consumer perception survey can also be a valuable tool for brand holders who want to assess the buying habits of their target market, test the marketplace for a new brand name, logo, or idea; and other key marketing issues.
A notable case where a consumer perception survey played a critical role in the outcome of a trademark dispute is the case of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. L & L Wings, Inc., Anheuser-Busch, the plaintiff and maker of Budweiser beer, sued the defendant, L & L Wings, owner of a restaurant chain called “Bud’s,” alleging that using the name “Bud’s” was likely to cause confusion with the Budweiser mark.
To support its claim, Anheuser-Busch conducted a consumer perception survey that showed that a significant percentage of consumers were likely to be confused by the similarity between the marks. The court ultimately found in favor of Anheuser-Busch, citing the results of the consumer perception survey as solid evidence of the likelihood of confusion.
Consumer perception surveys can provide valuable insights into how consumers perceive and recognize trademarks in the marketplace. If you are involved in trademark litigation, it is essential to work with experienced survey consultants who can help you navigate complex legal issues and determine if a consumer perception survey is appropriate for your case. Call Keegan & Donato Consulting at (914) 967-9421 to learn more.