Trademarks are an essential aspect of any business. They are a symbol or a logo that represents the brand of a company. Trademarks can include names, symbols, colors, or even sounds. Registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides legal protection against unauthorized use of the trademark. However, trademark infringement can still occur. Keegan & Donato Consulting can conduct surveys to determine whether a trademark has been infringed upon.
Surveys in Trademark Litigation
The Lanham Act prohibits the unauthorized use of a registered trademark in a manner that is “likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.” Consumer surveys can be very influential in determining whether a likelihood of confusion exists, particularly in the absence of other persuasive evidence. They can also be instrumental in settlement negotiations.
Litigants often use consumer surveys to convince a Court that consumer confusion exists (or does not exist) between trademarks when infringement is alleged. These surveys provide direct evidence about consumer perceptions that is difficult to achieve from visual comparisons and expert testimony alone.
Keegan & Donato Consulting employs an industry-leading online survey software platform to design and administer state-of-the-art surveys. These surveys boast numerous advanced features such as:
- Ability to target specific populations
- Balanced, representative panels
- Hundreds of question types and formats
- Advanced question rotation and randomization
- Customizable complex skip and display logic
- Real-time survey results
- Advanced quota building
- Advanced screening capabilities
- Audio, video and image capabilities
- Graphic design capabilities
Our methodologically sound surveys will provide persuasive evidence of consumer perceptions of the products and brands at issue and will stand up to judicial scrutiny.
Our Survey Specialties
At Keegan & Donato Consulting, we specialize in designing surveys that are highly relevant to the issues at hand, with a particular focus on targeting specific consumer populations through appropriate universe selection and sampling frames. We deliver high-quality results.
Consumer Confusion: Preventing consumer confusion is of utmost importance in the world of trademarks. A well-executed survey can help brand owners and their counsel assess whether consumers are confused. The Keegan & Donato Consulting team utilizes both conventional survey designs and innovative custom surveys to assess the likelihood of consumer confusion.
Secondary Meaning: Descriptive marks are typically not protectable unless they have acquired a secondary meaning. Our team can design a consumer survey that specifically targets relevant consumers in your client’s market, helping you determine the extent to which consumers associate a contested mark with one or more sources.
Dilution: Trademark dilution occurs when an infringing party uses a famous mark in a way that tarnishes its reputation for quality or dilutes its distinctiveness. At Keegan & Donato Consulting, we can measure consumer recognition of a famous mark directly through surveys.
False Advertising: Issues related to false advertising or labeling are well-suited to testing through consumer surveys. By addressing the ways in which consumers interpret and misinterpret names, symbols, and other marks used by businesses in commerce, our surveys can help you assess the validity of claims made under the Lanham Act.
Trade Dress: Trade dress, like a trademark, is protectable under the Lanham Act. We can conduct consumer surveys to gather evidence that helps you determine whether the trade dress in question has established secondary meaning or is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.
For more information about surveys for determining trademark infringement, call (914) 967-9421 or contact us here to find out how Keegan & Donato Consulting can help.