Trademarks are words or symbols that distinguish one company’s products or services from another’s. In today’s marketplace, trademarks have become essential to brand identity. When disputes occur over trademark ownership or use of a mark by others, businesses often turn to the courts to resolve them. In these cases, expert consumer survey research from Keegan & Donato Consulting can be critical in rebutting trademark claims.
Keegan & Donato Consulting is a specialty research consultancy that designs and executes consumer-based surveys for attorneys and their clients for intellectual property disputes. Principals Mark Keegan and Tony Donato have over 30 years of cumulative experience in consumer research.
Our vast experience includes conducting consumer surveys to test a wide range of Lanham Act claims, such as likelihood of confusion, strength of mark, secondary meaning, trade dress, as well as false and deceptive advertising, consumer perception, and expert witness testimony about consumer survey, marketing, and economic issues.
Consumer survey research has become increasingly common in trademark litigation because it can provide a more accurate and reliable basis for determining consumer perceptions of a particular trademark or product than speculation or anecdotal evidence. The data can then be used to rebut claims made by one party about the ownership or use of a specific trademark.
The Importance of Expert Consumer Survey Research in Trademark Litigation
One example of a case where a consumer survey was used to rebut a plaintiff’s claim is Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Haute Diggity Dog, LLC. – 507 F.3d 252 (4th Cir. 2007). The plaintiff (Louis Vuitton) sued Haute Diggity Dog for trademark infringement and dilution based on the defendant’s use of a dog toy called “Chewy Vuiton” that parodied Louis Vuitton’s marks.
Haute Diggity Dog commissioned a consumer survey that showed that consumers did not perceive the “Chewy Vuiton” toy as being associated with Louis Vuitton. The court relied on this survey in finding that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks.
Without the rebuttal survey data, Haute Diggity Dog may have been unable to refute Louis Vuitton’s claim and could have been found liable for trademark infringement.
Our surveys provide objective data that can be used to show whether the trademarks are similar or distinct and whether consumers are likely to be confused by the allegedly infringing mark.
If you are interested in rebutting trademark claims in connection with infringement cases, consider Keegan & Donato Consulting for expert consumer survey research. The use of such research can make a significant difference in the outcome of your dispute. Contact us today at (914) 967-9421 to learn more about our approach and affordable services.